Keeper Liability

As part of the Protection of Freedoms Act, keeper liability was introduced by Government on the proviso that the parking sector provided the motorist with an Independent Appeals Service (IAS) and that the service is funded by the sector.

On public roads and regulated public car parks in most of England and Wales, and parts of Scotland where Civil Parking Enforcement operates, the law says that the owner is liable for any penalty charges regardless of who was driving. The owner is defined in those cases as being the Registered Keeper at the time of the contravention.

On private land, and this includes private land owned by public bodies, it is the DRIVER who is liable for any charges arising from a trespass or for not complying with the rules for parking which, in most cases, is simply a breach of contract. And it is the driver who is trespassing or breaches the contract.

The Protection of Freedoms Act (POFA) 2012 does not alter this fundamental principle of DRIVER liability. What it does do, importantly, is to allow proceedings against the registered keeper for unpaid parking charges when the creditor, usually the landowner or their agent the parking operator, DOES NOT KNOW WHO THE DRIVER WAS at the time.

This is an important development in the management of parking or trespass on private land and significantly improves the opportunity for unpaid parking charges to be paid or recovered. Landowners and their agents are significantly better placed now than ever before but, importantly, it is not the same situation as exists on public regulated land.

The creditor must follow the procedures set out in PoFA Schedule 4 to achieve the benefits of 'keeper liability' as described.