A £20,000 "distress" award handed to a man from east London embroiled in a £200 parking fine dispute has been overturned by the courts.
Z-Un Noon, from Tower Hamlets, east London, refused to pay four £50 fines to Newham Council and took the council to court claiming emotional distress.
When a council representative failed to appear Mr Noon was given judgement by default and awarded £5,000 per ticket.
The council said it had not received the court summons.
Mr Noon has since been ordered to repay the £20,000, in addition to £7,500 in court costs.
The council initially fined Mr Noon £50 for committing a parking offence in October 2007.
When he refused to pay, they called in the bailiffs and the case was subsequently closed.
However, when Mr Noon received a further three parking fines he pursued damages for emotional distress in county court.
The court ruled in his favour in the council's absence, and bailiffs were sent to retrieve the £20,000 from the council.
"We first heard about the case when bailiffs came into our parking shop in East Ham," said a council spokeswoman.
This was just an abuse of the whole legal system
"They began to unplug our computers and take them away. We agreed to pay them to prevent them unplugging an important file server."
She added: "If we had been aware of the case, of course we would have made representations in court. We would not have just ignored something like this."
However, last month Bow County Court ruled in the council's favour and Mr Noon has now been ordered to repay the award plus costs.
"There is a standard procedure for challenging parking fines," the council spokeswoman said. "This was just an abuse of the whole legal system."