Friday, August 20, 2010


Another announcement from the Government regards car clamping, this springs to mind with an article from the Shuttle regarding an OAP being charged £150 to get her vehicle unclamped in Stourport.

This falls under the same category as private car parking and the 'fines' they can issue. the principal is that when you park on private land you are doing so either with or without the consent of the  landowner.

If you do so with consent then the landowner can stipulate restrictions on how you do it. These are the notice boards you see. If such any stipulations are made and you still decide to park there you the driver are consenting the landowner's 'authority' to enforce said restrictions.

In order to protect people there are certain obligations that the landowner has to follow. The first is that any penalties can be deemed fair; so stating that you'll charge £3,000 if you overstay your hour's grace is way out. Yet the definition of fair is up for grabs. The final obligation is that drivers are made aware of these restrictions. If a driver can park and leave without seeing a noticeboard or without the reasonable expectation of being able to see one then they have not granted their consent to be governed by them. Note the reasonable bit there. Whenever you park anywhere it can be classed as unreasonable it you don't make any attempt to see if there are any restrictions. If you look around and see nothing at the point you park, or on your way out on foot you've done your part.

That's parking with consent. What if you park without consent? Well exactly the same thing. The landowner is still obliged to put up notice that parking here is forbidden, that notice should be visible to those parking and again should they choose to do so they are granting their consent to the landowner. If no signs are present the land-owner can do nothing directly to the vehicle. They can notify you directly that parking isn't allowed, and if they catch you doing so they can ask you to leave; but they can't issue a 'ticket' or clamp your vehicle.

What if signs are present, but not visible. Same thing, the driver hasn't granted consent, the landowner can do nothing directly.

How does this relate to the OAP and the only sign hidden behind the bush? The sign could be classed as not reasonably visible, therefore no consent has been granted and the clampers have acted illegally in detaining the vehicle. Though I'm sure most people would be reluctant to do so she should have called the police on the non-emergency number 03003 333000 and stated her car was being illegally detained.

There's nothing to stop the clampers taking a photograph of the car and pursuing a civil action later to get money, but if the sign is deemed non-visible to the police they'd have to realise the vehicle.