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Don’t get stung with penalty contracts


Article date:  23/12/2014

A campaign by a former Cambridge law graduate is set to fight for the rights of anyone stung by a harsh or unjust parking fines. aims to gather enough cases of unwarranted parking ticket fines to sue in the High Court. If successful, the court's decision would be binding in the lower courts.

Jane Rudge, a lawyer at Higgs & Sons in Brierley Hill, was left furious when hit with £75 fine for being just 10 minutes late.

"I appealed the fine and failed," said Jane. "There seems to be no proportionality between the amount you overstay, and the amount of the fine. Needless to say I have never used that particular car park again!"

As a specialist in all aspects of commercial law, Jane says you might wonder what the relevance of the 'fight the parking ticket' campaign is to commercial contracts? 

"This is a perfect illustration of what we commercial lawyers would class as an unenforceable penalty.

"In English law, a breach of contract should naturally lead to a claim for damages to reflect the losses suffered.  Damages should not be punitive and therefore penalty clauses which are not reflective of the amount of loss actually suffered, will not be upheld by the courts.

"Businesses need to consider whether or not their commercial contracts contain any such terms. Common areas include fixed payments for late delivery, or for overstepping a restriction such as supplying goods or services in a restricted areas or to certain customers."

For advice and guidance on whether your contracts are at risk, Jane and her team can be contacted on 0845 111 5050.

Higgs & Sons is based in the heart of the Black Country at the Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill. The growing team now boasts 100 plus specialist lawyers available to support clients in a comprehensive range of business and private sectors. 

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