The civil court case and appeal between Parking Eye Limited v Beavis is one that all parking enforcers have watched with keen interest, because it is an important and landmark case for the private parking industry, and one ultimately that has had positive implications
Mr Barry Beavis, received an additional parking charge of £85 for overstaying the free parking allocation at the Riverside Retail Park in Chelmsford. This additional parking charge was eligible for reduction to £50 if it was paid within 14 days. This high parking charge for those who stayed over the allocated 1 hour free parking was intended to be a deterrent but the intention to deter was not sufficient to invalidate the term of the contract with the motorist (in this case, Mr Beavis). This parking charge was not considered by the appeal judge to be extravagant and unconscionable (which would have made it enforceable) but, interestingly from the point of view of other private parking providers, no judgment on what would be considered to be extravagant and unconscionable was made.
20 signs were displayed both at the entrance to the car park and throughout it: the contract between the motorist and the private parking provider therefore was deemed to be appropriate and fair. The restriction of the free parking allocation to two hours was deemed to be legitimate and the appropriate signs were clearly displayed: the Protection of Freedoms Act means that parking charges such as these can be issued provided there is appropriate and relevant signage that is clearly displayed. For this reason, the judged ruled in favour of the private parking provider, however Mr Beavis chose to take the ruling to the court of appeals: this appeal decision again ruled in favour of the parking provider, which is what makes this case such a landmark one.
The fact is that local authorities make similar parking charges and there is no reason why the private parking industry shouldn’t be able to do the same. Once the free two hour parking period that Mr Beavis was offered had expired, the parking charge of £85 he was issued was completely legitimate. The judge in both incidences ruled that there is no reason or precedent indicating that parking charges needed to be graduated in any way.
Mr Beavis has been given permission to appeal this decision again, but given both cases have judged overwhelmingly against him, it is unlikely that this additional step will be taken.
This case is massively significant for the private parking industry because it sends a clear message, once and for all, that the parking charges levied by private parking companies are legal and should be paid by eligible motorists. Many online forums claim that private parking charges can be ignored, but this judgement proves that this simply isn’t true. If a motorist chooses to park on private land against the terms and conditions clearly laid out to them then they must pay the parking charge notice that they are issued with as a result.