Bank­rupt! Woman who re­fused to pay £18k in park­ing fines

Scottish Daily Mail - - Life - By Gavin Made­ley and Peter McGlone

A WOMAN who racked up £18,500 of un­paid park­ing penal­ties then lost her land­mark le­gal bat­tle against a pri­vate park­ing firm has been de­clared bank­rupt.

Carly Mackie re­ceived more than 200 penal­ties is­sued by a pri­vate park­ing firm after she re­peat­edly parked her Mini out­side her par­ents’ home in an area re­served for res­i­dents.

She re­fused to pay the charges in the mis­taken be­lief that she was en­ti­tled to park there and that such penal­ties were un­en­force­able.

Although her mother and step­fa­ther were ten­ants at the prop­erty on Dundee’s water­front, Miss Mackie was not, so Ve­hi­cle Con­trol Ser­vices (VCS), which ad­min­is­tered the park­ing, con­tin­ued to is­sue tick­ets.

In April, VCS took 28-yearold Miss Mackie to court, where a sher­iff agreed with the park­ing firm that its penal­ties were legally en­force­able and or­dered her to pay the out­stand­ing fines plus court costs – a to­tal of £24,500.

Sher­iff Ge­orge Way found that Miss Mackie had ‘en­tirely mis­di­rected her­self on both the law and the con­trac­tual chain in this case’.

He told Dundee Sher­iff Court that she had been en­gaged in a ‘per­sonal cru­sade’ to prove the park­ing penal­ties were un­en­force­able.

The rul­ing against Miss Mackie was im­me­di­ately seized upon by other pri­vate park­ing firms and their debt col­lec­tors pur­su­ing in­di­vid­u­als for un­paid park­ing penal­ties in en­tirely dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances.

Cus­tomers found them­selves be­ing bul­lied into pay­ing ex­tor­tion­ate sums by letters high­light­ing what hap­pened to Miss Mackie, even though the penal­ties they faced would al­most cer­tainly be un­en­force­able in court re­gard­less of the Mackie rul­ing.

Fol­low­ing the out­come of her case, Miss Mackie moved from Dundee to Pais­ley, Ren­frew­shire, and now works as a cabin crew mem­ber with the air­line Thomas Cook.

Doc­u­ments lodged with the Ac­coun­tant in Bank­ruptcy (AIB) re­veal that she was de­clared bank­rupt with debts to­talling £37,564.84.

The AIB is the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment agency re­spon­si­ble for ad­min­is­ter­ing the process of per­sonal bank­ruptcy and cor­po­rate in­sol­vency.

Yes­ter­day, she de­clined to com­ment when ap­proached at her home.

Her case – thought to be the first in Scot­land in­volv­ing a pri­vate park­ing firm and a mem­ber of the public – ap­peared to shat­ter the widely held be­lief that park­ing fines is­sued by pri­vate firms can be ig­nored.

In his judg­ment, Sher­iff Way noted: ‘She knew per­fectly well what the signs dis­played and that she was park­ing in breach of the con­di­tions.

‘She stated (ef­fec­tively a protest po­si­tion) that park­ing charges were il­le­gal and un­en­force­able in Scot­land and that she could park where she liked as her fa­ther’s guest.

‘She was of­fered a per­mit by the fac­tors but she re­fused on prin­ci­ple.’

He added that VCS had a valid con­tract and res­i­dents in the area had a ‘le­git­i­mate in­ter­est aris­ing from their ti­tle to the land to pro­tect their prop­erty and amenity’.

The sher­iff con­tin­ued: ‘Park­ing is not only an amenity but a valu­able com­mod­ity in mod­ern life.’

‘Debts to­talling £37,000’

Cam­paign: Carly Mackie lost her le­gal bat­tle

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