Husband’s Unpaid Parking Fine Leaves Wife on Brink of Bankruptcy

The Court of Appeal determined in a case that a debtor who offered to pay creditors on a monthly instalment basis should only be allowed to do so if the debt can be repaid in a reasonable time. In this case it would have been unfair to allow her to do so, as she attempted to pay off her husband’s £8,000 debt accrued by refusing to pay his parking fine.

The Parking Adjudicator and the High Court had refused the husbands challenge to the parking fines and eventually bailiffs were instructed by the local authority to seize the family car. At the time his wife had taken the car when she went shopping and on her return she found the car clamped and subsequently taken to a pound where it was kept for a few days.

The woman sought redress through the court from the bailiff and his company, she wanted to stop the sale of the car and asked for recompense for the losses she suffered due to the cars impounding. Her claim failed and the Court ordered her to pay the legal costs which amounted to £8,000.

The offer by the woman to pay £50 a month which was all she could manage, given that she was a student with part-time earnings and by the time she had paid all her day-to-day living costs had little left, was refused.

While the Court of Appeal had some sympathy for the woman, and acknowledged that she had found herself in this situation because her husband refused to pay the parking fine and had to take most of the responsibility, it was ultimately the woman who may be declared bankrupt.

The Court dismissed the appeal, taking into account the £50 a month payments would not cover the interest, and the capital would not be cleared in what it considered to be a reasonable time. The Court added to her woes by ordering her to pay additional legal costs of £20,045.