The law recently changed following a Supreme Court decision arising out of an £85 parking fine in Chelmsford. Parking notices and commercial contracts often specify a sum that should be paid if the contract is breached.
The traditional view was that the fines were only enforceable if they amounted to a genuine estimate of the loss suffered. This was overturned by the Court who upheld the £85 fine as it was neither unfair nor extravagant and protected a legitimate interest.
While of interest to the motorist - who face larger parking fines - this will also have an impact on commercial contracts and residential leases. These stated, extravagantly large fines are still likely to be unenforceable.