Barry Beavis took court action after he was given an £85 ticket for overstaying a two-hour parking limit in a car park by almost an hour. His case went all the way to The Supreme Court.

Mr Beavis argued that the fine charged by parking management company ParkingEye is classed as a penalty, which would make it unlawful as penalties need to bear a relation to an actual loss incurred, and they did not incur any loss from the overstay.

But the Supreme Court ruled that the fine was not a penalty, that the charge was not unfair, and that overstaying penalties are a ‘normal feature of parking contracts'.

The judgment said fines were beneficial to motorists themselves as they make parking spaces available to them which might otherwise be clogged up by long-stay users.

‘The risk of having to pay [the fine] was wholly under the motorist’s own control. All he needed was a watch,’ the judges said.

John de Waal QC of Hardwicke chambers, who acted for Barry Beavis said: ‘Until today, charges which had been agreed in advance, payable on breach of contract, were disallowed as unlawful penalties unless they could be justified as a genuine pre-estimate of loss. Today’s judgment sweeps away that rule and says that deterrent charges will be allowed if there is some commercial justification for them.’

This ruling should not be seen as giving parking companies the right to take advantage of those who overstay. The charge should be reasonable and commercially justified but drivers should be aware that if they overstay the permitted time they will be required to pay a substantial charge.

For help with disputes contact our litigation department:

Anne Vincent:      avincent@gabbs.biz 

Jeremy Wilding:   jwilding@gabbs.biz 

John Shurvinton:  jshurvinton@gabbs.biz 

 

 

 

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