ADJOURNMENT – Consumer affairs: Parke Lawyers – Wednesday 9 June 2010

Posted on 18. Jun, 2010 in Speeches

Mr LIM (Clayton) — The matter I raise tonight is for the attention of the Attorney‑General. It relates to the actions of Parke Lawyers in relation to claims for liquidated damages and related legal expenses. The action I seek is that the Attorney‑General initiate an investigation of the practices of Parke Lawyers. Parke Lawyers operates on behalf of Care Park Pty Ltd, a company which has been the subject of previous complaints in the Parliament regarding its claims for liquidated damages in private car parks.

When a person parks in a private car park and does not follow the instructions relating to the use of the car park, they are issued with a notice seeking ‘liquidated damages’. If this claim is not paid, the person can receive a letter from Parke Lawyers, which threatens legal action unless the original claim of $88 and legal fees of $77, a total of $165, are paid. However, I understand the legal basis of the claim is highly questionable and as far as I am aware the firm pursues persons who do not pay. The Consumer Action Law Centre has warned consumers regarding Care Park and sought to run a test case on the validity of the claims for damages.

The claim for legal damages by Parke Lawyers seems to be an old‑fashioned shakedown of those who are unaware of their rights, and the role of Parke Lawyers in these sharp practices seems, at best, highly questionable. I urge the Attorney‑General to investigate Parke Lawyers and to ensure that the vulnerable are not victims of legal firms who prey on the weak and ignorant. This is clearly nothing less than intimidation, bullying and victimisation, especially for people in my electorate who have difficulty speaking English properly and negotiating the system.

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