How to appeal an unfair parking ticket

Published: 18/11/2014

Getting a parking ticket is frustrating at the best of times but when you are penalised unfairly, well then that is something to get annoyed about.

If you believe you have received an unfair parking ticket – and by unfair we mean unfair and not just annoying – then you do have the right to appeal it. Learn how with our free guide.

First things first – do you have the right to claim?

You may feel hard done by but take a step back to think about the situation. There are many examples where parking tickets are unfair including:

  • The road signs and/or road markings are unclear (e.g. faded bay markings)
  • Mitigating circumstances (e.g. a bereavement)
  • Fined within three minutes paid parking expired
  • The parking meter was broken
  • Misplaced ticket (e.g. ticket has blown away).

Whatever the reason for your claim, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible including taking photographs to support your claim. This could include photos of:

  • Insufficient markings or signs
  • Your ticket including the time stamp and the current time
  • Your vehicle and how it is parked
  • The broken meter.

Remember to retain any receipt you receive for parking too in case your ticket is dislodged or removed. If there are mitigating circumstances, try and find any evidence such as doctor’s note or a death certificate.

Paying the fine is an admission of liability

When a parking ticket is issued the driver often has the opportunity to pay the ticket at a reduced rate if paid within 14 days. This is clearly an enticing option but if you do pay the fine you then forfeit your right to challenge the ticket.

If however you make an informal appeal within the two week window and then lose, you usually still have the opportunity to pay the ticket at the reduced rate (providing you then pay within the next 14 days). This however is not guaranteed.

How to appeal

There are three stages to appealing a parking ticket. Step one is to write to the council and explain why you think the ticket is unfair. This is known as an informal appeal and must be done within 28 days although ideally within 14 days of receiving the fine in order to preserve your right to pay at the reduced rate. The contact details of the council should be on the back of the ticket. Remember to include:

  • Your address
  • Your vehicle registration number
  • The ticket (PCN) number
  • As much information and evidence as you have.

If your appeal is successful at this stage – happy days! If not, you have to decide if you want to continue with your claim. If you do and you lose you will forfeit your right to pay the reduced rate.

Make a formal appeal

To make a formal appeal you need to write a formal letter to the parking ticket issuer detailing all the reasons why you believe the parking ticket is unjust.

Download our letter template

The council will then have 56 days to respond. If they fail to do this you win by default! If they believe your claim to be correct then they will write to you otherwise they will send you a Notice of Rejection of Representations letter.

If your claim is unsuccessful you’ll then receive a Notice of Appeal form. This allows you to take your case to an independent tribunal. If you decide to continue with your claim you must submit the form, along with every bit of evidence and information you have, within 28 days of receiving it.

If the appeal is made in person or on the phone, the adjudicator will usually decide the outcome of your appeal there and then. If not you will receive a letter with four possible outcomes:

  • Your appeal is successful
  • Your appeal is unsuccessful
  • The appeal is adjourned and the adjudicator requires more information. This is quite rare.
  • The appeal is dismissed but the adjudicator believes there are compelling reasons why the fine should not be paid (e.g. mitigating circumstances). In this instance the adjudicator can ask the council to waive the penalty. The council then has 35 days to inform you and the adjudicator of its decision or you win by default.

Please be aware on some occasions the independent tribunal had awarded costs to the council if it believes you have made a “frivolous, vexatious or wholly unreasonable” appeal.

If you lose your appeal you must pay the penalty within 28 days or risk the fine being increased by 50%.

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