It has been something of an urban myth that penalty notices for parking in private developments are not enforceable. But following the Supreme Court case of ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis in 2015, a Scottish sheriff court decision has now reinforced the view that such arrangements are enforceable in Scotland.

Carly Mackie routinely parked at the Rivercourt development in Dundee, when visiting her father. The deed of conditions for the development applied restrictions to parking, and the manager of the development had engaged Vehicle Control Services Ltd to administer a system of parking permits and fines. Signs were erected at the development informing anyone attempting to park without a permit that a fine of £100 would apply. Mackie parked her car with such regularity that she racked up £24,500-worth of fines, but was of the view that such penalties were not valid in Scotland and so she didn’t have to pay them. She thought that she could not be in breach of contract, as there was no contract to breach.

The sheriff sided with the parking company, commenting that Mackie had “entirely misdirected herself on the law and the contractual chain”. There was a valid contract in place, with the signs forming the offer, and the decision to park in those spaces forming the acceptance, and the parking charges were legitimate on that basis: Vehicle Control Services Ltd v Mackie [2017] SC DUN 24.