′It wasn′t me′ private parking fine loophole closed by German court | News | DW | 18.12.2019
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages


'It wasn't me' private parking fine loophole closed by German court

Germans had been able to avoid paying parking fines by disputing that they had been the one to park their own vehicle. Germany's federal court has now closed the loophole following a hospital parking lot dispute.

A car owner can no longer easily avoid paying a parking fine after a well-established loophole in German law was closed following a high court battle.

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Wednesday that a car owner must now tell authorities who illegally parked their vehicle or face a fine themselves.

Until Wednesday, German car owners had been able to avoid paying a parking penalty by claiming that they had not parked the car themselves as, according to prior German law, only the person who parked the car could be fined and there needed to be proof of who parked the vehicle.

Read more: Germany's Left want discount train tickets for all, not money for e-cars

Watch video 01:38

Mega-merger creates fourth-largest car maker

A lot of disagreement

The case reached the high court following a dispute in Arnsberg over illegal parking in a hospital parking lot. The car of the accused driver broke parking regulations in the lot on three occasions — her car once overstayed the maximum free parking time limit and twice was found parked in spaces reserved for hospital workers.

However, the car owner disputed that it was she who had parked the car on each occasion.

The owner of the parking lot was initially unsuccessful in the first bid, after taking the case to the Arnsberg regional court, but then the Federal Court overturned the ruling in the appeals process.

Read more: Greta Thunberg's trip home on a crowded German train

The court refused to say the accused had sole liability over the parking violation just due to being the owner of the vehicle but the owner had "not effectively contested her driving behavior." In cases such as free use of a private car-parking space then an owner must explain who the driver could have been instead.

It is down up to the Arnsberg regional court to rule on whether the vehicle owner should pay the parking fines.

kmm/rc (AFP/dpa)

DW sends out a daily selection of hard news and quality feature journalism. Sign up here.

DW recommends