A motorist who challenged ‘unfair’ fines imposed by a car park takes his case to the Supreme Court today after crowdfunding the money to pay to file his court papers.
Barry Beavis (pictured), who took action after he was given an £85 parking ticket, said that although his lawyers worked on the case pro bono, he needed £6,000 to meet the other costs of taking it to the Supreme Court.
‘I had already secured John de Waal QC pro bono but I needed to crowdfund to get enough money for the case and filing fees which are quite expensive in the Supreme Court,’ he said.
Within 48 hours he had surpassed his target, and raised £8,500.
Beavis challenged car park operator ParkingEye after he was given a ticket for overstaying a two-hour parking limit by almost an hour. The appeal has been taken to the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal dismissed his challenge in April. It is being heard before seven judges.
Henry Hickman, a partner at London firm Harcus Sinclair, which is acting for Beavis said: ‘It is a vindication of the English civil justice system that a case involving an individual who has been issued a disproportionate parking penalty charge by a private parking company is being heard by the highest court in the land.’
A ruling in favour of Beavis would open the way to challenges to penalty charges and prevent private parking operators basing their business models on fines collected from overstayers. A ruling in favour of ParkingEye could enable parking operators to charge even higher fees.
The case hinges on whether the fine charged by the parking company is classed as a penalty, which would make it unlawful as penalties need to bear a relation to the actual loss incurred. In this case the parking company does not incur any loss if someone overstays in the car park in Chelmsford, Essex.
Beavis told the Gazette the case is no longer about his £85 fee, which he has already paid. ‘I’m appealing against the industry, in particular the type of parking company that operates this business model.’