Scotland is different. Wheel clamping in Scotland is judged by Scottish law and not by English and Welsh law.
With a minor recent change, wheel clamping in Scotland is against the law. This is given formal status by the case of “Black v Carmichael 1992 SCCR 709.” Under Scottish law wheel clamping in Scotland amounts to:
And is therefore illegal unless it is the police using statutory powers.
Unlike England and Wales where the private clamping operators have been pursuing the wrongly parked motorist, Scotland has been free of the problem. Perhaps lower population density and a different approach to life and people are the reasons.
Oddly enough, in this relative motorists’ paradise, the fly in the ointment is none other than the Scottish Court Service (SCS).
Wheel clamping in Scotland has its first experience of legality because past experience teaches that many people do not pay court fines. The SCS now has the power to clamp the vehicles of fine defaulters which puts that corner of wheel clamping in Scotland in alignment with further south.
In December 2009 three motor car owners had their cars clamped over non-payment of fines for traffic offences. They each owed up to £180 release fee.
Eric McQueen, a director at field services at the Scottish Court Service said: ‘We introduced new tracing facilities which make it easier for us to identify defaulters and … helps us identify if they are a car owner in which case we have powers to seize and sell the vehicle.’
He continued: ‘We have issued warnings to car owners before and they normally pay up but there are some people who still believe they can get away with not paying their fines. Fine dodgers have nowhere to hide; the Scottish Court service will use all the available sanctions to collect their fine including clamping and seizing the car.’
The three defaulters all paid.
Moral: Wheel clamping in Scotland is not an absent deterrent; it has made a mild appearance.
When the ban on clamping was introduced most of the companies simply switched to towing away and charging higher release fees. In effect the ban didn’t work and led to the situation getting worse. In August 2008 the liberal democrat government in England announced a total ban on clamping and towing away. The lessons learned from the banning of clamping in Scotland were taken into consideration and the mistakes of the past were rectified.