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Addressing the Myth that Parking Fines are unenforceable

A decision issued from Dundee Sheriff Court hit the headlines when Sheriff Way has determined that a motorist, Carly Mackie, is liable to pay £24,500 in unpaid parking tickets to a private parking company.

There has long been a myth that parking tickets issued by private parking companies are not enforceable and are often ignored by motorists on that basis. It was the motorist’s position in this case that she ignored the hundreds of parking notices because she thought they were unenforceable. Sheriff Way said that the Defender had ‘entirely misdirected herself on both the law and the contractual chain in this case.

Breach of Contract

Whilst parking tickets from private companies are not fines, by parking in a clearly marked restricted area, a motorist can be considered to be agreeing to a contract. Failure to pay can be seen as a breach of contract and a Court action may be raised to recover their losses.

Sheriff Way said that the charges were from a valid contract and the Defender was liable to pay them.

Effect of the decision

Caution should be taken when considering whether or not you are liable to meet a parking charge. There are already numerous court cases pending in relation to private parking charges and it may be that we see further cases raised in respect of historic unpaid parking charges in light of this decision.

If you are unsure of whether or not to pay a fine or you feel that the private parking area was not clearly marked, you may be in a position to challenge the parking ticket and may consider obtaining further legal advice in respect of your individual case.  For more information, please contact our Sarah Polson or Martin Sinclair, or call 01224 632464.



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