According to the RAC Foundation, hundreds of thousands of UK drivers have likely been illegally penalised for overstaying on private land.æ The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 banned any clamping on private land, but drivers are still receiving tickets demanding payments of up to £100 and more in some cases. John de Waal QC, a barrister at Hardwicke, argued in a paper for the Foundation that these charges would likely be far higher than any compensation that would be obtainable through a proper process, making the charges unenforceable through the courts. 'Payments at the level that operators presently demand as sanctions are unlikely to count as genuine pre-estimate of loss; they should be seen by the Courts as penalties, which means they are unenforceable,î Mr de Waal said. If the courts agree, then UK drivers could end up receiving tens of thousands (and potentially even millions) in refunds. During 2013, private parking companies made nearly 2.2 million requests to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for registered vehicle keeper details. The British Parking Association and the Independent Parking Committee (both of whom are accredited trade associations for private parking) have previously recommended that their members not issue tickets of over £100 against drivers who've stayed longer than they have agreed to who flout agreed-on conditions. Professor Stephen Glaister, director for the RAC Foundation, said: 'We would like to see this legal argument tested in a higher court so that a binding precedent is set. At the same time we would like the Government to do what it should have done at the outset and set out what are reasonable charges. 'If the Courts agree with De Waal then millions of drivers could be in line for a refund. We estimate that in 2013 alone drivers might have been overcharged by some £100 million. 'Some parking operators have a business model which means they only make a profit if members of the public overstay and can be charged an excessive penalty. We think this model, which invites zealous enforcement, is unfair and not fully understood by the public. 'Ministers thought that the ban on clamping would end parking problems on private land. As we warned at the time, they were wrong. They allowed a system of ticketing to emerge which is barely regulated. In effect drivers have been short changed.î