We at GOS were impressed by this forthright reader's letter in the Daily Mail recently ...
Many people are unaware of the limited legal strength of "parking charge notices" issued by private contractors. A local authority penalty notice is enforceable in law, but a penalty charge notice is not legally enforceable.
Private firms must sue under contract law and may sue only the person who entered into the contract by leaving a vehicle on land controlled by the contractors.
A private parking firm can ask the DVLA for the registered keeper's details, but the registered keeper (who may or may not be the same person who entered into the parking contract) is under no legal obligation to reveal the name of the person who did so.
The parking firm might not wish to launch a long, drawn-out and costly legal argument in court when an individual has a right to privacy and has no obligation to disclose the driver's details.
My advice to anyone who gets a private ticket is to remind the firm of this basic point of law and point out to these crooks that the law is not with them. They rely on people's ignorance of their rights and on "threatening" letters and notices drafted to mimic legally enforceable ones from local authorities.
The robust approach has worked for me.
Gary Davies, Maldon, Essex
We did a bit of internet searching to find out the facts, and came up with this page of rather threatening "information" about PCNs from a parking contractor. So who's right?
What appears to be an authoritative statement of the facts comes from Pepipoo, and here are three links to internet forums that have some interesting discussion on the subject ...
It seems that tickets issued by local authorities are a different kettle of fish - they ARE legally enforceable. However we did find this little caveat ...
Within this past year, parking tickets for every local authority have had to be re-worded and re-printed. This is because of a very important legal ruling concerning the validity of the parking ticket. The two most important points to emerge from this landmark ruling are that:
A PCN must contain two dates: the "date of issue" and the "date of the contravention"; and that must be the wording. They must not say "date of offence".
Both these dates must appear in the body of the PCN: it is not sufficient for the date of issue to appear on just the tear-off payment slip.
This was the result of a Landmark case in the High Court referred to as the Barnet v Moses case, and as a result every local authority should have re-worded and re-printed their Parking Tickets. Unfortunately, many have still not complied with this ruling; therefore it is important that you look closely at the PCN to ensure that it has the two dates.
Note that tickets issued by local authorities are called Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) while those issued by contractors are called Parking Charge Notices (PCNs).
Now there's a coincidence.
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.
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