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Wheel clamping and the law

Wheel clamping has been the cause of much controversy over the years with many people reacting furiously to the fact that somebody has the power to clamp their property and therefore restrict their freedom.

Famously, the French people’s reaction to the Government’s attempts to impose wheel clamping was so infuriated that the Government was forced into a U-turn and did not impose wheel clamping on a mass scale.

When your car can be clamped

Generally, if somebody clamps your wheel it is because you are trespassing on their property. For example, if somebody were to come and park on your front garden you would consider this trespassing and would want to impose a sanction preventing this.

Typically then, wheel clamping is the result of people parking on private land on which they had no right to park.

However, the use of wheel clamping has to be monitored and not anybody can simply stick a clamp on your wheel.

Recent government legislation has also looked at the reasonableness of the clamping and the subsequent charge to remove the clamp.

This was following a strong public backlash to the high charges imposed by firms to remove their clamps.

If you have had your car clamped you may wish to consult a solicitor for legal advice.

Disputing clamping

Indeed, as previously mentioned not everybody has the right to clamp. You may also feel you have the defence that you were able to park there, or in other words, you were not trespassing.

Your chances of success in disputing the clamping fee will, of course, depend on the individual circumstances and where exactly you parked.

If somebody uses clamps to warn people from parking on their land they will have to display a sign warning that the land in question is indeed private land and that if you park there you risk having your car clamped.

With these provisions in place, most clampers are aware of the rules and will display signs warning of clamping. If you are not satisfied that this is the case in your particular circumstances you may wish to contact a solicitor.

Declaring your car ‘off road’

Another common example of wheel clamping occurs when people’s cars are not taxed. If your car is not taxed and you have not notified the DVLA that your car is ‘off road’, usually by filling in a form known as a SORN, then your car may be clamped.

To ensure that cars are taxed and insured the DVLA needs to know if your car is declared ‘off road’ or not. If it is not declared ‘off road’ then it will be assumed that you may have been driving without tax and insurance.

As a result of this, recent changes in the law mean that the DVLA can now clamp your vehicle, even if it is on private land, if you have not declared it 'off road’. This new legislation has caught many people by surprise who assumed that if their car was not on a public road they could not be clamped. As a result of this, the number of wheel-clamping incidents has increased greatly in recent years.

If you are unsure if your car has been illegally clamped you should contact a solicitor for legal advice. 

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