Protection of Freedoms Act 2012

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Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 2017-05-04T10:43:01+00:00

Changes to Rules Governing Private Parking – Protection of Freedoms Act 2012

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 came into force in England and Wales on 1st October 2012. It bans clamping on private land in most circumstances and allows parking companies to pursue the vehicle keeper for unpaid parking charges providing certain conditions are met.

One of these conditions is that if the parking company is not notified by the registered keeper or hirer of the name and serviceable address of the driver (within 28 days of requesting that information) the registered keeper becomes liable for the parking charge.

The Act also requires the introduction of an independent appeals service now known as POPLA (Parking on Private Land Appeals) which can be accessed by drivers who wish to appeal against a Parking Charge. Access to POPLA is dependent on the driver first appealing to the parking company who issued the ticket and within the timescales laid out when the charge was issued. For International Parking Community operators the appeals service can be found here.

All of our clients parking charges comply with the guidance issued by the BPA or IPC.

How is a parking contract formed?

The Department for Transport Guidance on Section 56 and Schedule 4 of the POFA 2012 -Recovery of Unpaid Parking Charges states-

“Contracts for parking on private land can arise in a number of ways. However normally a car park will have signs setting out the terms and conditions upon which parking is offered. Drivers can then decide whether or not to accept those terms and conditions. In most cases a driver who parks in a car park with clear signage setting out the terms and conditions will be deemed to have accepted the terms and conditions and therefore entered into a contract to park with the landholder”.

Important points to consider:

Are we an approved operator? Yes, as are all of our parking clients.  We do not take instructions from non approved operators.

Private or public land? Our clients typically manage parking on private land.  However some of our clients manage parking on behalf of Local Authorities and Railway operators.  Different laws and byelaws may apply to tickets issued on those sites.

What is meant by a parking contract? When you park in a privately owned car park managed by one of our clients- e.g. a supermarket or hospital car park – you are effectively entering into a contract between you and the parking operator.  The parking operator has offered to allow you to park on the land that they manage subject to the terms and conditions displayed on the signage.   If you park there then you are agreeing to meet the conditions they have stated i.e. paying £1 for an hour, parking in a marked bay, not using a disabled bay without a valid permit or agreeing to park for a limited period.

Why have I been issued with a parking charge? If you pay to park, park correctly and leave without breaching the terms and conditions set out, then each side has met its contractual obligations – contract fulfilled.  However if you park but don’t pay, park across more than one bay, park in a disabled bay without a valid permit, overstay the time paid for or allowed,  contravene any other condition for parking on the site then the parking operator can claim that you’ve broken the contract, and issue you a parking ticket.

How can I appeal? You may appeal to the parking operator at the address given on the parking charge.  You must appeal within the allotted time given otherwise you may lose your right to appeal.

What if my appeal is rejected? If your appeal is rejected by the parking operator (and your ticket was issued in England or Wales) you have the right to appeal to POPLA (Parking on Private Land Appeals) or the IAS.  It is worth noting that you will lose your right to any discount offered by the parking company for early payment should you choose to appeal to POPLA.

Can I appeal because of mitigating circumstances?  POPLA has no power to allow an appeal simply because of mitigating circumstances e.g. “My ticket blew off the dashboard”. POPLA will make their decision based on fact of law.  It is worth noting that if you’ve already gone through POPLA and lost, their decision is likely to be taken into account should the case reach court.

Do we take cases to the County Court?  Post 1st October 2012 and the implementation of the Freedoms Act 2012, more operators will pursue unpaid charges through the courts (where necessary).

Where you are unsure of your rights and obligations after you have been issued with a parking charge, we encourage you to take legal advice from a qualified solicitor or from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Call and pay a DRP operator by Credit/Debit card on 0208 234 6775 | 0141 301 2355

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