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Landmark £85 parking charge case goes to Supreme Court

Published 21/07/2015

Chip shop owner Barry Beavis, 48, from Chelmsford, Essex, outside the Royal Courts of Justice
Chip shop owner Barry Beavis, 48, from Chelmsford, Essex, outside the Royal Courts of Justice

A chip shop owner who lost a landmark legal action over parking charges is to have his case heard by the UK's highest court.

Barry Beavis, 48, from Chelmsford, Essex, challenged private car park operators who charged him £85 for overstaying his allotted two hours of free parking.

He asked the Court of Appeal to rule that the charge was excessive, unfair and ''legally unenforceable''.

In April, the court unanimously dismissed his challenge, saying the amount was not ''extravagant or unconscionable''.

Mr Beavis's attempt to overturn the Court of Appeal's decision will be heard by justices at the Supreme Court during proceedings due to last three days.

The Court of Appeal judges ruled that the charge was clearly signposted and legitimately intended to deter overstayers in a busy city centre car park in Chelmsford.

Mr Beavis was charged by management company ParkingEye after overstaying the two-hour permitted period of free parking at the Riverside Retail Park car park.

Legal action followed the decision of a judge at Cambridge County Court in May last year that the £85 charge was lawful and did not breach the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations.

Upholding the county court decision, the appeal judges ruled that Mr Beavis had ''entered into a contract'' with ParkingEye and agreed to abide by the rules when he drove into the car park in April 2013.

A lawyer representing Mr Beavis argued the charges should be set at levels meant only to compensate for any loss in achieving the aim of deterring overstayers and not to make large profits.

But Lord Justice Moore-Bick, sitting with Lord Justice Patten and Sir Timothy Lloyd, said: ''In the end I am satisfied that in this case the amount payable by the appellant is not extravagant or unconscionable and that the court should therefore not decline to enforce the contract.''

Mr Beavis immediately pledged after the ruling to take his case on to the Supreme Court.

ParkingEye said the outcome of the appeal "further confirms that our parking charges are fair, reasonable and legally enforceable".

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