Forbidding Signs: PCM (UK) v Bull (B4GF26K6)

This is a Small Claims Court case (B4GF26K6) heard at High Wycombe in April 2016 where the major part of the defence was that the signs were forbidding. They were not offering a contract at all, so no contract was formed - consequently no breach of contract.

District Judge Glen differentiates this case from ParkingEye v Beavis, one of the first judges to show the Beavis is not as all encompassing as the parking companies would have you believe.

Here are the key passages:

17. ... In the Beavis case the scheme was categorised by the permission the ParkingEye gave Mr Beavis to be in the car park for a limited period of time. So whether you call it a contractual licence or whether you simply call it a contractual permission, as Lord Mance in the end did, that was the consideration and the consideration flowing the other way was Mr Beavis’s agreement to be bound by those terms.

18. I am afraid that in my judgment that analysis just does not work in this case. It does not work for this reason. If the notice had said no more than if you park on this roadway you agree to pay a charge then it would have been implicit that PCM was saying we will allow you to park on this roadway if you pay £100 and I would agree with Mr Samuels’ first analysis that essentially the £100 was a part of the core consideration for the licence and was not a penalty for breach. The difficulty is that this notice does not say that at all. This notice is an absolute prohibition against parking at any time, for any period, on the roadway. It is impossible to construct out of this in any way, either actually or contingently or conditionally, any permission for anyone to park on the roadway. All this is essentially saying is you must not trespass on the roadway. If you do we are giving ourselves, and we are dressing it up in the form of a contract, the right to charge you a sum of money which really would be damages for trespass, assuming of course that the claimant had any interest in the land in order to proceed in trespass.

 

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