Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Views & Reviews Personal View

An unusual visit to court

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c1377 (Published 10 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1377

Rapid Response:

Common sense prevails

Firstly, I think you should be congratulated on pursuing this issue
to the end
and representing yourself in court. I have previously asked for legal
advice on
this matter (which I am sure you did as well) and this is how I understand
it to
be. If the trust had contracted out parking services to a private firm
(which is
not clear from the article), then when staff park they enter into a
contract with
that company. When the company feel that a person has parked in breach of
that contract they may issue a penalty notice. They cannot issue a 'fine'
as that
can only be issued by the police, local council or traffic wardens for a
suspected
criminal offence. By allegedly parking in the wrong area you may have
breached
the terms of the contract but you have not committed a criminal offence.
Therefore, when parking companies issue a penalty notice they are actually

attempting to sue for breach of contract that MAY have occurred. I was
advised
that most judges will look at this situation in the way your judge did and
use
common sense. I appreciate that was a little bit of a lengthy response,
but well
done for following what you believed in and I am glad that common sense
prevailed.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

20 March 2010
Nicholas b Marshall
Consultant anaesthetist
TR1 3LJ