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Millions of private parking tickets could be ‘illegal’


The RAC Foundation has argued that millions of parking tickets enforced on private land should be deemed illegal, meaning some drivers could be due refunds.

On behalf of the RAC Foundation, barrister John de Waal QC said that some penalties could be unenforceable in court, and therefore illegal.

His reasoning for deeming some parking tickets as illegal, is that the level of fine is often disproportionate to the loss that landowners have suffered as a result of somebody parking on their land.

The foundation has called for this argument to be tested in court, whilst they have also said that the government should look to ensure that any private parking fines should be “reasonable and enforceable”.

In 2012, the act of clamping, blocking-in, towing or immobilising a vehicle without permission from a lawful authority was made illegal. However, whilst this law has generally stopped rogue clamping firms abusing their powers, the RAC Foundation claimed that landowners are now using extortionate penalty charges as an alternative.

They said that some drivers have fined in excess of £100 for parking longer than the time they have paid for, and in once case, a woman was charged £100 for overstaying in a car park that charged just 20p per hour.

Establish a precedent in law

Speaking about this legal argument, Professor Stephen Glaister, the director of the foundation said that he wants their argument tested in a higher court of law, so that a legal precedent is set.

He also referenced a case that will be taken to the court of appeal next week, which involves a motorist who was given an £85 parking fine.

Mr Glaister said that if the motorist was to win the case, then a precedent in the law could be established, and those who have been overcharged in the past “will find that that charge is unenforceable in the courts” and that they “will have a case to get that money repaid."

Patrick Troy, who works for the British Parking Association added: "The genuine pre-estimate of loss argument has been a bone of contention for many years and so we look forward to the Court of Appeal reaching a decision."

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