‘Ignore retail parking fines’

A prominent Derry solicitor is advising drivers punished for imprecise parking in Derry retail parks to ignore the fines.

Solicitor Greg McCartney says that fines issued by privately-owned parking control companies are “not enforceable in criminal law.”

The Derry lawyer’s comments come after the ‘Journal’ revealed that Waterside shoppers are being fined £90 for alleged parking errors at Lisnagelvin and Crescent Link Retail Parks.

The ‘Journal’ has been inundated with complaints from drivers fined for being ‘not parked correctly within the markings of the bay or space’ this week.

Now Mr McCartney has moved to allay the fears of those worried they’ll be out of pocket due to the fines doled out by UK Parking Control, the firm employed to police parking by the retails parks’ management companies. He said the parking control company “relies on people being scared into paying the ticket”.

“Further to the ‘Journal’ story my advice to anyone contacting me has been to totally ignore these tickets. They are not enforceable in criminal law and may only be enforceable in contract but first the parking company has to prove a contract.

“The contract can only be with the driver who parked the vehicle not the owner. The company will obtain the owner’s details from DVA and will write to the owner demanding details of the driver. There is no requirement in law for the owner to provide this,” he said. Mr McCartney added that even if the company can confirm a driver’s details it still must prove there was a contract. “This can only be proved if the company can establish to a court that the driver read the terms and conditions displayed and accepted them. I am not aware of any successful cases in the small claims court to date taken by a parking company. My advice is to ignore these tickets totally as it is extremely unlikely the company will take it to court.”

UK Parking Control Limited began operating at Lisnagelvin Retail Park (managed by Corbo Properties Limited) on April 28, and Crescent Link Retail Park (managed by Lisney) on November 4, 2011.