Parking fine battle hits Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has started to hear a case that will determine whether the penalties issued by private parking companies are legally enforceable.
Barry Beavis has taken his case to the highest court in the country after his claim was rejected by the Court of Appeal in April.
The fish and chip shop owner from Chelmsford was issued with an £85 fine in 2013 after he overstayed the two-hour free parking offered by a retail estate car park in the city. He says the charge should be ruled unlawful as it is "unreasonable and excessive".
He said: "I am confident the Supreme Court will overturn the decision of the Court of Appeal as this parking charge is totally unfair and should be thrown out.
The RAC Foundation says that it is difficult to overestimate the importance of this case. Steve Gooding, director of the motoring organisation, said: "Each year, at least three million drivers are pursued by private parking firms to get them to pay penalty charges. This is a vast enterprise that has left many motorists angry, frustrated and confused."
"Few people would want to see an unrestricted parking free-for-all but most of us would agree that being billed as much as £100, and sometimes more, for briefly overstaying our welcome is wholly disproportionate."
In February this year, John de Waal QC told the RAC Foundation that many of these charges are extravagant and unconscionable and is currently representing Barry Beavis at the Supreme Court.
It is expected that the hearing will run until the end of this week, however the court is not expected to make a decision until later this year.
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