Private car park entitled to obtain the contact details of someone owing parking fees

Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise has requested the Estonian Road Administration no longer refuse to release the contact details of someone owing a private car park parking fees. Private car parks, for their part, will have to obtain the technology to prove the fact of parking, comply with the personal data protection requirements, and ensure the good condition and security of their parking facilities. 

“I am of the view that someone in breach of a parking contract is not entitled to the secrecy of their name or contact details,” the Chancellor of Justice noted in her letter to the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications and to the Director General of the Estonian Road Administration. “In a state based on the rule of law the contracts, including a parking contract, must be fulfilled, and one ought to arrange one’s affairs in a manner that is reasonable,” stressed the Chancellor of Justice. “It makes no sense to surround every temporary car park with a fence or barriers, yet the towing of a car and the locking of its wheels burdens the person who has omitted to pay for parking significantly more than a phone call, letter or SMS reminding them of their obligation to fulfil the contract.”

Modification of the existing practice of the Estonian Road Administration is supported by a recent judgement of the Supreme Court whereby the provider of parking is entitled to assume, under the standard terms and conditions of a parking contract, that the driver of a vehicle, and hence the counter-party to the parking contract, is the owner or authorised user of the vehicle.

“I can see no logical justification why private car parks should be treated unequally on this issue. If they meet all their obligations, that is, set up information boards and ensure the security of vehicles and people in their car parks, no driver of a vehicle should be entitled to omit to pay for their use of the service or conceal themselves by invoking a personal data protection provision,” commented the Chancellor of Justice. “Good parking practice, which private car parks interested in concluding relevant contracts with the Estonian Road Administration should introduce, implies, among other things, the fact that not every plot of privately held land qualifies as a private car park.”

Please also see the full Estonian-language text of the opinion of Chancellor of Justice.