Am I unreasonable to not name the driver?
Subject: General enquiry
One of your pages says that the registered keeper has no obligation in law to name the driver.
As the keeper of a vehicle, I have received a request from a PPC to name the driver.
They say that if I do not name the driver, a court may find this unreasonable and decide to hold me as the driver unless I can prove I was not.
I understand about PoFA and that they have not demonstrated any keeper liability in my case.
However, I was wondering whether a court is actually able to require evidence that I was not the driver, or is that an empty threat to say that I can be assumed to be the driver? Despite there being no legal obligation to name the driver, can a court impose an order for me to name the driver?
Hi John. The page is correct: the keeper has no obligation to name the driver. If the parking company meet the requirements for keeper liability, then the keeper has two choices:
- Name the driver and a contact address for them
- Be liable for whatever charge the driver had for that parking event
If they have not met the requirements for keeper liability, then you can put this as an appeal point, and we would expect that to be upheld at a POPLA appeal.
Now, if this got to the court stage, then they would have to assume you were driving and bring the claim against you. In your defence you could state that they have not met the requirements for keeper liability as specified in law, and so you are not compelled (or perhaps able) to help them identify the driver. As such, you could ask the claim to be struck out at that stage.
If you could also provide evidence that it was not you – then that certainly would be a basis to strike the claim out. We would recommend that any defence would need to be broader than that this one point anyway.
If it did reach court, experience shows it’s a bit of a lottery since the judges aren’t always familiar with this specific area of law, unlike POPLA assessors. These cases are decided on the balance of probability, and so if you state you weren’t driving and the parking company can’t rebut that, then they have not proven their case. Alternatively the judge could just ask you whether you were driving, and you would need to be prepared to answer that question.
The thing to remember is that parking companies will do whatever they need to to pressure you into paying. This is one of those tactics. The parking company does not want to take people to court – it costs more than they make. If they have not established that the keeper would be liable, this is the sort of case that has a lower chance of success compared to others.
Hope that helps, PC