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My university in this city, hands out non-legally binding tickets (tickets they print themselves with no connection to the city) for people who park without paying. I have done this a few times while getting late, and have gotten tickets (which the university makes very very hefty and unreasonable fines), however there has been no consequence other than them sending a letter home addressed to the primary insured (my father who does not attend the university) asking to pay or to have his parking rights suspended.

Now I want to note, through research, that the worst the university can do is A) If you are a student, then put a hold on your student account until you pay the fines off and this will prevent you from registering for future courses. B) tow your car (if found on their property) in to their own lot and make you pay all your tickets to release the car.

I have parked like this a few times and have never had a hold placed on my account, in fact, even though I am a secondary name on the insurance somewhere, they have been unable to identify me from my license plate # and have only ever identified my father...I believe.

I need to list a few more relevant facts:

  • We recently changed insurance companies, a few months ago (DEC 2015) and my sister (who has started attending the university from SEPT 2014), had a hold of approx $1500 placed on her student account (on March 22) for ALL the tickets dating back to the first ones back in 2013)

  • My sister only ever got her drivers license in 2014, and was only ever placed as an insured of the vehicle in DEC 2015.

  • The total amount of $1500 date back all the way to 2013, when she wasn't a student, didn't have a drivers license, and wasn't insured on any vehicle.

  • When I was attending the university and my sister wasn't, and I insured on the vehicle, they were never able to identify me and sent non-legally binding notices home asking the primary, my father, to pay.

  • My sister has never driven to the University and never will in the future either.

Now my inquiries are:

  • How were they able to obtain my fathers information from just having the license plate? do they have some sort of deal with the registry that allows them to do so? Is it legal for them to do so?

  • Why were they not able to get my information the same way, and were only able to get my fathers?

  • Why have they now been able to lookup my sisters information from the license plate number, but still not mine?

  • Considering everything above, is it rightful for the university to place a hold on her account? Considering that she did not even have a license the time some of these parking tickets were issued, is it reasonable to argue, against the university, that NONE of the tickets are hers? When she goes to talk to someone about this tomorrow, how can she avoid the question ("Well if they aren't yours, then whose are they?")

  • If the university is unwilling to drop the fines and holds on her account, how can she and I seek legal assistance, and should we?

  • What if we drop her name from those the insured, will this help her case at all?

Yes I am a jerk for parking like this, but various health circumstances led me to act this way in the past, and it is not how I act now. In fact I don't even park on university property anymore. Also, I am willing to anonymously pay every past ticket once I am working after graduating.

We are going to talk to the university about this tomorrow. Should I be present and if so how should I hide my identity? What is the best way to resolve this without getting her to pay the amount. If worse comes to worse, I will identify as the person who owes the money, I will sell my only mode of transportation to pay off the hefty fines, but I rather not pay right now, and pay in the future when I can afford it.


I am a current student at the University so therefore I cannot give my identity. If they know my identity, they can just charge everything to my account instead of hers, and I was the one who parked. I don't want that to happen, as at this time, I can't afford it. I will be able to once I graduate.

Here are the policies and regulations:

https://www.ucalgary.ca/policies/files/policies/Parking%20Regulations%202011.pdf

I read through them all, and there is nothing that seems like it says that the owner or operator that did not commit the infraction should have to pay the fines. The closest thing is section (16.3) but I am not sure if I am correct here.

I'll outline the remaining relevant information from the policies:

Section 17.1: It did not become aware to her that she had to pay tickets until march 22/2016, at which point she was being charged for tickets many years ago. No notices were sent out to her.

Section 17.3: It is clear I can appear on her behalf, or that any lawyer can.

Can you give it a quick look if you get time. It is fairly short.

  • 2
    Why do you say they are non-legally binding? Their parking document starts by identifying their authority. The Post-secondary Learning Act 18(2)(a) specifically authorizes parking regulations. – user6726 Apr 1 '16 at 16:07
  • I mean, these are not municipally, provincially, or federally binding, unless they take it to court to make it so. – SeesSound Apr 2 '16 at 7:08
  • That's even true of city tickets: it takes a court to enforce a ticket. – user6726 Apr 2 '16 at 15:02
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I can't speak for Alberta, Canada only NSW, Australia so please be aware that there may be differences.

Public parking

If you park on a public street or other area under the control of a government then they have the right to fine you for doing so in contravention of the law. In common law countries, fining people for committing an offence is a punishment available only to governments. Private people are not allowed to punish other people; by means of a fine or otherwise.

Private unenclosed parking open to the public

Over the last couple of decades, private parking operators using a pay and display mode of operation where you do not pass through any barrier have been issuing liquidated damages "tickets" on cars that do not pay or overstay.

Initially Roads and Traffic NSW (now Roads and Maritime NSW) refused their request to disclose the owners of the vehicles when they sought enforcement, however, the court ruled that the owner of a vehicle registered for operation on public roads was public information and they were forced to disclose it to people who had reasonable grounds to know it.

Notwithstanding, to my knowledge, no one has ever been sued if they didn't pay (including me). The reason is that there are a number of defences to the liquidated damage including: there was no contract; even if there was a contract, the liquidated damages term had not been agreed; even if the liquidated damages term had been agreed the damages were so large that it was a penalty, not recovery of damages: remember, only government is allowed to impose punishment. My practice now is to drop a note on my dashboard stating that I do not agree to their terms and conditions and leaving my mobile number and inviting them to contact me to negotiate mutually acceptable terms - no one ever has.

Private enclosed parking open to the public

Alternatively, if you pass through a boom gate or other barrier going in and out then the courts have found that you have agreed to the terms of the contract. If you haven't you should leave immediately.

Notwithstanding, the situation here is different because you are not being issued a ticket, you are required to pay for the time that you parked in accordance with the contract you agreed to.

Private parking not open to the public

In circumstances where your parking rights are part of a larger contract (e.g. a tenancy agreement, a body corporate, a university enrolment) then the terms of that contract will also impact on what can happen. It may be legal and legitimate for an organisation to contra-charge amounts owing under one contract to an account under another contract if that is provided for in the contract(s). It is still not legal to impose a penalty; they can only charge you for the damage that you caused by breaching your contract: presumably the revenue lost, some administrative costs and interest.

Your questions

How were they able to obtain my fathers information from just having the license plate? do they have some sort of deal with the registry that allows them to do so? Is it legal for them to do so?

They did so clearly it is legal. Who can get that information and under what circumstances the government body responsible for registering motor vehicles in Alberta can tell you. It is possibly available to anyone; this makes sense as if you sideswipe my car and don't stop, I'm going to need to know who you are to sue you.

Why were they not able to get my information the same way, and were only able to get my fathers? Why have they now been able to lookup my sisters information from the license plate number, but still not mine?

Maybe the rules have changed - contact the motor registry. If you are not a current student, maybe they don't care about you.

Considering everything above, is it rightful for the university to place a hold on her account?

Can't say - look at the contract she has with the university.

Considering that she did not even have a license the time some of these parking tickets were issued, is it reasonable to argue, against the university, that NONE of the tickets are hers?

Well, its certainly reasonable to argue that the tickets issued before she had her licence couldn't possibly be hers but that may not help you if, under the terms of her contract, she assumes responsibility for all tickets on a vehicle for which she is insured.

When she goes to talk to someone about this tomorrow, how can she avoid the question ("Well if they aren't yours, then who's are they?")

She shouldn't ask it - they probably will so she can't avoid it. If you are no longer a student is there any problem in her fingering you? She can always say "I don't know", she's not under oath after all. She could even say "I won't say", I'm sure there is nothing in her contract that requires her to.

If the university is unwilling to drop the fines and holds on her account, how can she and I seek legal assistance, and should we?

Google "Lawyers Calgary" and call some of them.

What if we drop her name from those the insured, will this help her case at all?

Now? No.

I am willing to anonymously pay every past ticket once I am working after graduating.

Good for you.

Should I be present and if so how should I hide my identity?

Yes. Don't.

What is the best way to resolve this?

Negotiate. Cut a deal. Offer to pay less that they want. Offer to pay by instalments. Only suckers and lawyers go to court.

  • Thank you so much for your answer. Can you please give a look at the EDIT I made in my initial post and reply. – SeesSound Apr 1 '16 at 9:01

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