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Private(?) Land and Parking


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#1 moffooo

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 08:43 PM

This is an ongoing issue for many, particularly myself!

I am currently an NHS employee, and as of last December, the NHS removed car parking charges in Scottish hospitals, as many of you will know.

However, you are now only allowed to park for 4 hours - and obviously most staff work more than that! For a hospital the size of the Southern GEneral, staff without parking permits (which I personally feel have been dostributed unfairly) have been provided with 54 spaces.

My question however is, is it illegal to park for longer than 4 hours in these spaces, where they have a private company CP Plus running the car park? At present they have no way of monitoring how long people have parked other than by eye, but people have occasionally been caught out. I just wanted to know where we all stood in regards to the law.

Thanks
C

#2 Lucozade

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 08:52 PM

It's a civil matter, the police won't get involved.

#3 Funky Drummer

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 12:10 AM

To add to stir_student...

I dealt with the very same company over one of these "parking penalty notices" that they dish out in Aberdeen a couple of years back.

Yellow sticker on window, ignored it, threatening letter a few months later..
...to which I replied quoting the necessary pieces of legislation and also mentioning the stated case (in scotland) which designated wheel clamping and similar activities as extortion.

Needless to say I didn't hear back :D

PM me and I'll happily send you a copy of the letter I whizzed off! just in case they do bother you :D

#4 CmdKeen

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 10:24 AM

Surely if they've not clamped your car then it won't come under the case law? (I thought it was theft as they were going to permanently deprive unless you paid, but hey). If you park in an area where there is clear signage indicating that parking is not free and that failure to abide by the rules will result in a fine then that surely indicates some kind of civil contract you're breaking. Right enough the police won't get involved, but you could quite easily find yourself landed with a civil claim and costs.

As for the NHS thing, as you're lucky enough to have unions I'd suggest going through them, this definitely strikes me as something that if I were part of one I would want them to be dealing with.

#5 Funky Drummer

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 11:50 AM

Hi CmdKeen,

In a way you're right - and that it the argument therse private companies put forward.

However, in the stated case they make reference to these warning signs and pull up stuff on contract law. The ruling is that those signs do not count as a legal contract. It's the equivalent of me walking round with a t-shirt saying "If you read this and then smile then you agree to pay me £500" - putting up a sign telling someone that they agree to something is not considered a legal contract.

And just double checked re the extortion/theft thing and it's extortion

#6 moffooo

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 05:58 PM

Thanks for the replies. Funky Drummer, could oyu please PM me the letter?

I forgot to note that they aren't charging for the parking spaces, they're free. So therefore they aren't losing any money by me parking there for free.

Thanks

#7 CmdKeen

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 08:42 PM

Fair enough if its extortion, I never looked up the case law just knew that wheel clamping couldn't be done by private firms in Scotland. However it does bear no resemblance to the t-shirt example, you're parking a vehicle, an obvious act, in an area where you can't assume you have a right to do so, a car park with signs saying you can't park for more than 4 hours. In the same way there are conditions of entry for premises that you don't have to abide by, you just can't enter if you don't want to abide by them, if you don't want to be subject to the agreement with the parking contractors then don't park there. I'd appreciate it if you could post a link or reference to the case law as I find it difficult to accept that all private car parks in Scotland can't fine you, especially as big institutions, not just cowboy firms, operate parking penalty schemes. I know the university I used to go to brought one in recently, and I can't imagine them having set that up without considering the legal implications.

#8 Lucozade

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 08:53 PM

http://www.scotcourt...ions/sc514.html - an exciting read, enjoy.

#9 CmdKeen

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 10:15 PM

Cheers, so to save others from that delightful read, yes you can be sued for not paying the penalty charge at a car park. And also that Sheriffs apparently dislike smart arses quoting from dictionaries of law at them. If you keep parking somewhere and keep getting penalty tickets you are assumed to be getting the point that you can't park there without meeting the demands of the owners.

So back to the original point, yes they could fine you for parking more than 4 hours. I'd look to whatever staff management negotiation structure you have to sort it out. Where do they hospital managers park, if they have their own places then perhaps that might be a nice story for your local paper to follow up on?

#10 Lucozade

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 10:24 PM

Cheers, so to save others from that delightful read

Why spoil it? :D

#11 scottyboy

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 10:57 PM

Not 100% sure of the other party name but the contract law case of Thompson is relevent here.

It involved a car park and a sign stating terms that were to be read into the contract at the time of its formation. In it the court held that as long as the sign was in a place of high viz and that a "reasonable man" would know of the sign being present prior to the formation of the contract then there was no need for a "big red hand" to point to it for its terms to be included in the contract.

Caveat Emptor is the key to your case though.

And to the person saying about the courts not liking folk who throw case law at them this is very sage advice! They've spent a long time in the legal arena and study relevent law before the case sits. Unless you have a new argument based on the case's ratio don't bother mentioning it - they see you as someone who knows how to google rather than being a "learned colleague".

#12 CmdKeen

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 11:21 PM

It wasn't even case law in this instance, it was over the semantic difference between a 'fine' and a 'charge', apparently he was willing to pay a charge but because Oxford Legal Dictionary says a fine what you pay after conviction he didn't have to pay it. And the court just said 'library fine' and had done with it.

#13 badfelafel

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 12:02 AM

Not 100% sure of the other party name but the contract law case of Thompson is relevent here.

It involved a car park and a sign stating terms that were to be read into the contract at the time of its formation. In it the court held that as long as the sign was in a place of high viz and that a "reasonable man" would know of the sign being present prior to the formation of the contract then there was no need for a "big red hand" to point to it for its terms to be included in the contract.


There's been a fair bit of water under the bridge since that case (Thornton v Shoe Lane Parking, not Thompson), which was decided in 1971, however it relates to exclusion clauses in contracts and whether they can apply. It's not really this issue here, that is whether you have accepted the terms of a contract by your conduct, which may be possible depending on the circumstances.

Caveat Emptor is the key to your case though.

Doesn't come into it at all I'm afraid - maybe caveat parker! But no defects on purchase for the buyer to worry about, as no purchases involved and no defects to put up with, which is specifically what caveat emptor refers to.

And to the person saying about the courts not liking folk who throw case law at them this is very sage advice! They've spent a long time in the legal arena and study relevent law before the case sits. Unless you have a new argument based on the case's ratio don't bother mentioning it - they see you as someone who knows how to google rather than being a "learned colleague".



Finally, if you do your research and throw the right cases at the court, it is a good thing. But it has to be the right cases. You are not trying to set a precedent (thats the new argument point). You are trying to find the right case to show that your point is valid. In this instance, it would most certainly be a valuable thing to do - not all Sheriffs know/remember everything.

Sorry to have argued with your whole post!

#14 Lucozade

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 10:46 AM

Sorry to have argued with your whole post!

:D Dont be sorry! People throwing pointless latin in to 'legal' arguments should be argued with.

#15 ArcticSpanker

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 08:31 PM

I've been stopped 4 or 5 times in Tesco while getting my piece in. Members of the public come up to me and inform me they've received a parking ticket from some company who patrol the supermarket car parks. "What can I do?" they ask me.

My response:

"don't pay it! What's the worst that can happen, be barred frm every Tesco in Britain?" Big deal.

My insp. told some wee granny the same thing too.

#16 scottyboy

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 01:07 AM

There's been a fair bit of water under the bridge since that case (Thornton v Shoe Lane Parking, not Thompson),


Thats the one! Its been a long time since i did contract law! Still reckon it holds weight in this case though in terms of whether something can be read into the contact depending on how obvious the sign is. E.g. if the sign regarding fines / towing etc are hidden or posted in places such that a reasonable person would be aware.

Caveat Emptor Doesn't come into it at all I'm afraid - maybe caveat parker! But no defects on purchase for the buyer to worry about, as no purchases involved and no defects to put up with, which is specifically what caveat emptor refers to.


Excluding the legal definition caveat emptor simply means "buyer beware" as i'm sure you and most people on here are aware. In my post i was simply meaning the general meaning of when you park somewhere in exchange for money you do so your own risk ... two words was nice and short

Finally, if you do your research and throw the right cases at the court, it is a good thing. But it has to be the right cases. You are not trying to set a precedent (thats the new argument point). You are trying to find the right case to show that your point is valid. In this instance, it would most certainly be a valuable thing to do - not all Sheriffs know/remember everything.


I'm not saying that its not nor, for the latter point, that Sheriffs do; however, in my experience when "laypersons" defend themselves the Sheriff generally thinks the person foolish simply because they are not a "learned colleague". Is this right? no for a layperson can read just as well as a learned one but it still happens. The notion of the bench being a "gentlemens club" is still very much valid. I don't know many in the profession who would counter argue.

Sorry to have argued with your whole post!


Seconded! :D :D

Edited by scottyboy, 24 December 2009 - 01:18 AM.


#17 CmdKeen

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 10:00 AM

As the phrase goes "a person representing themselves has a fool for a client". Even lawyers don't tend to represent themselves because you want your representation to be calm and objective on your behalf. Despite the fact that as evidenced here the law is full of precise definitions and meaning it still helps to be part of the exclusive club to understand what those meanings are - hence standing up in court and arguing the OED not being a good idea.




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