One for the chambers’ profile?
A parking firm appears to have met its match in the shape one of the country’s leading commercial barristers.
Last weekend, Fountain Court Chambers‘ Edward Levey KC took his parking problem public on Twitter, posting a copy of a scary looking letter (pictured below) from a debt agency which warned he must cough-up £150 now or face “further action”.
Levey said the letter, which is one of three he had received, came about after he used Heathrow airport’s drop-off zone and forgot to pay the £5 charge by midnight the following day.
OK, but this time we *really really* mean it… pic.twitter.com/4SxJ4bA8Pv
— Edward Levey (@ED_LeveyKC) November 13, 2022
The silk went on to explain that, in his opinion, the £150 penalty was “clearly unenforceable” and that he was now “considering issuing proceedings” against the agency “for a negative declaration” — i.e. a declaration that the fee is not enforceable and therefore isn’t required to pay it.
Levey, who covers a broad range of commercial and civil work and is described as “formidable advocate” on his chambers’ profile, has since gone on to provide his 3,000 plus followers with an update on his parking headache — and we’re pleased to report it’s good news.
The barrister confirmed legal proceedings were no longer necessary as the parking firm had now decided to waive the fine “as a gesture of goodwill”.
Celebrating his victory (one for the chambers profile perhaps?), the top silk couldn’t resist providing a detailed overview of why he, legally speaking, believes he was in the right anyway. Handy reading, perhaps, for those who find themselves in similar tight spots.
His legal argument rests on the effect of section 62 and schedule 2 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the common law position that, in Levey’s words, “a court will not enforce a clause if it amounts to a penalty”. In the thread, the barrister goes on to apply the test from the leading case on this matter Parking Eye v Beavis. He also notes that the fact the he did not have the opportunity to read the terms and conditions before entering the paid parking zone amounted, in his view, to “a clear breach of British Parking’s Code of Practice”.
If you receive a PCN from @APCOAUK or @ncpcarparks because you used an airport Drop-Off Zone (DOZ) and forgot to pay a £5 charge by midnight the next day, you may want to consider not paying it. Please don't rely on this as legal advice, but here's what happened to me. 🧵(Part 1)
— Edward Levey (@ED_LeveyKC) November 15, 2022
And it appears Levey has gained a few fans in the process. “I enjoyed this to no end,” wrote one lawyer responding to the Twitter thread. Barrister ‘CrimeGirl’ put the success down to “fantastic lawyering” while fellow lawyer and LBC radio presenter Daniel Barnett described the legal response as “incredible“.