Hemel Hempstead Parking

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Hemel Hempstead Parking

Hemel Hempstead parking in Hertfordshire is getting harder by the day. There seem to be more double yellow lines, added traffic wardens, a lesser amount of free car parking and even supermarkets are now charging for you to park and shop with them...where will it all end?

Confidently we can assist you with your parking in Hemel Hempstead. If you have established a parking fine or ticket at the same time as parking in Hemel Hempstead, then we are here to assist.

At the outset there are two separate types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice and a Parking Charge Notice. It is crucial for your wallet that you are unmistakable about which one you have received. If the ticket is a legitimate notice from Hemel Hempstead council or Hemel Hempstead police then you have been given a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the Police and the Council are allowed to issue Penalty Charge Notices and it means that you are being fined for parking wrongly on civic property. Such an offence is backed up by criminal law and you can be fined or end up in court for not paying your fine.

If you have received a PCN issued by a council or police force then you should refer to the Hemel Hempstead council or Hemel Hempstead police for recommendation on what to do next. Hemel Hempstead council will have comprehensive information on their web pages outlining how long you have got to pay the fine, how to pay the fine and the penalties implicated if you fail to pay within the time frame.

Generally they afford a discount (how nice of them) if you pay within a set period of time.

The PCN must in addition contain comprehensible detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and contain any data, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to corroborate you committed the offence. Crucially, the PCN must also contain clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the fine, along with details of the appeals modus operandi and the timescales involved.

If you are in any doubt as to what to do when you collect a pcn, it is always a good idea to seek separate opinion from the Hemel Hempstead Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Hemel Hempstead lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Hemel Hempstead solicitor.

If you have got a Parking Charge Notice then you have received this from a private parking company. A private parking company is an organisation which has entered into a contract with a landlord to enforce any parking restrictions he or she chooses to place on their ground.

A landowner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the existing one - they will set out restrictions generally in a notice displayed on the land which you agree to abide by when you park on that land. By choosing to park on the land it may be implied that you agree to these conditions, especially if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are then entering into a contract with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will mean a set time limit, a prerequisite to pay and display or a no-return policy. The terms and conditions of the car park should be displayed visibly and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at other points across the location, along with info about parking fees and any consequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you be given a parking charge notice you should check that these terms are properly displayed at the car park in question. If you discover they are not, you may desire to write to the business to appeal the charge.

The key difference involving an official penalty charge issued by the authorities and a parking charge issued by a private business is that there is zilch in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. Consequently they should not be described as penalties or fines, although countless parking operators will label their notices a Parking Charge Notice, which handily also abbreviates to PCN (what a coincidence!).

In issuing a Parking Charge Notice, the parking operator is relying on the law of contract to make a claim for damages. The total they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you formed when you parked on the property in question. According to the CAB, this charge should be affordable and in line with the loss suffered by the company, although extreme charges are common. This isn't a criminal matter despite any impression given to the contrary by the operator.

The operator has no right to salvage a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you sense there has been an error and you shouldn't have been issued a ticket, you may want to dispute the charge with the parking company as soon as possible. You should ask them to give confirmation of their argument against you. If you fail to reach an agreement with them, then, as with all civil matters, it is up to the parking company to corroborate their argument in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the CAB or a solicitor before things get to this point. Bear in mind that the parking operator has to prove its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also of the essence to note that, as things now stand, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the landlord. So if you weren't the person driving you may wish to inform the parking company of this right away. Just because you are the registered keeper of the car, you are under no legal obligation to impart the parking operator with any further info, as you would be with the police. In particular you do not have to identify the driver or supply his or her name and address.

Indeed if you are assured that you have not parked in contravention of the regulations of the car park, you do not have to contact the parking company if you do not wish to do so as the obligation is on the parking company to demonstrate its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can anticipate a succession of letters from the company itself, debt collectors and solicitors, all warning of court action. However, the reality is that very few cases ever reach court because of the difficulties the private company has in proving its case. As a result, the letters usually stop. Even if a case does reach court, the company may have trouble convincing a judge that the charge is fair.

The bottom line is it is going to be very hard for these companies to demonstrate you are a guilty party in this. In 99.99% of cases the best thing to do is rip up the ticket and throw it away. We would advise not to contact the company (as you are handing them your details) or waste your time and money consulting a solicitor. Most of these companies do not provide proper signage - in other words they are easy to miss when you are busy thinking of all the stuff you want to buy.