Since the Protection of Freedoms Act (PoFA) was introduced in 2012 there has been a great deal of confusion about how it affects motorists in Scotland and Northern Ireland. PoFA introduced the concept of keeper liability in England and Wales; simply put, the keeper of the vehicle can be held responsible for unpaid parking charges, subject to certain conditions. With PoFA, the two trade associations introduced independent appeals services (POPLA and IAS for BPA and IPC member companies respectively).
Since this was introduced in English and Welsh law, many motorists have been confused about how it affects them. The scenarios we should consider are as follows:
- An English/Welsh motorist’s car ticketed in an English/Welsh car park
- A Scottish/Northern Irish motorist’s car ticketed in a Scottish/Northern Irish car park
- A Scottish/Northern Irish motorist’s car ticketed in an English/Welsh car park
- An English/Welsh motorist’s car ticketed in a Scottish/Northern Irish car park
The first two cases are simple. For the English/Welsh case, PoFA applies and the independent appeals service is available. You may want to read up on keeper liability, POPLA, and the winning arguments to use.
For Scotland and Northern Ireland, PoFA does not apply and there is no independent appeals service available. Since PoFA does not apply, only the motorist is liable for the ticket, not the keeper. The parking company may write to the keeper requesting the name of the driver and/or payment. However, the keeper is under no obligation to provide the name of the driver nor pay the charge. As such the keeper may write back advising them as such, or ignore completely. The parking company’s only recourse would be to try and enforce in court, although as of November 2014 this seldom happens.
In the third case, since the event occurred in England/Wales PoFA does apply, as does the independent appeals systems. However, since the motorist resides in Scotland/NI the claim would have to be pursued through the Scottish courts. Since the Scottish courts do not recognise PoFA, then they cannot rely on it to claim keeper liability. As such, we have never heard of such a case being pursued to court. A motorist could therefore either follow the appeals process, or ignore completely.
Finally, the case where an English/Welsh motorist’s car ticketed in a Scottish/Northern Irish car park. PoFA does not apply, and nor is would an independent appeal be offered. The response here is the same as case 2; the keeper has no obligation to name the driver or pay the charge.