A woman who ignored more than 200 parking tickets has been ordered to pay £24,500 in unpaid fines from a private company.
The judgement against Carly Mackie from a sheriff at Dundee Sheriff Court is a landmark ruling which experts fear could spark similar cases across Scotland. Ms Mackie, 28, who had parked her car outside of a flat rented by her mother and stepfather in Dundee’s City Quay area, reportedly believed that private parking fines issued by Vehicle Control
Services were unenforceable north of the Border. Interest is charged at eight per cent a year until the debt is paid. She said at the time that the fines, which increasd to £18,500 before the company began court proceedings, were making her life “hellish”. She said: “I always make a point of parking in front of my own garage, where nobody else could park, and never parking on the double yellow lines on the road.”
Sheriff George Way ruled: “[Miss Mackie] has, in my judgement, entirely misdirected herself on both the law and the contractural chain in this case.” He added: “She knew perfectly well what the signs displayed and that she was parking in breach of the conditions. She stated that (effectively a protest position) parking charges were illegal and unenforceable in Scotland and that she could park where she liked as her father’s guest.”
It is believed that the parking firm offered her a permit for £40 a year, but she refused. Sheriff Way added: “The defender’s car was an additional burden on the parking facilities and she was the same as any other interloper. She was offered a permit by the factors (at a reasonable charge I think) but she refused on principle.”
Lawyers have previously claimed motorists handed fines for parking on a private car park could legitimately challenge the parking ticket in Scotland’s courts.
Keith Dryburgh of Citizens Advice Scotland, which three years ago launched a major campaign to encourage people to challenge unfair parking fines, said: “We have seen a big increase in the number of people who have received unfair or disproportionate charges.
“Our It’s Not Fine campaign sets out people’s rights and encourages them to challenge charges they think have been applied unfairly.”
A statement by Debt Recovery Plus, which acted on behalf of the parking company, said: “This is understood to be the highest value parking charge case ever awarded in the UK. As some people in Scotland believe parking charges are unenforceable.”