How to successfully fight a parking ticket
8million parking tickets are issued annually in the UK
As many as 8million parking tickets are issued annually in the UK. Only a fraction of these are contested but there is strong evidence many more drivers could beat their fine. Of the millions of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) issued each year, only a few thousand are appealed by drivers. This is despite the fact that as many as 65 per cent of appeals are upheld and the fines are then withdrawn.
Many appeals are not even contested by local councils. Sometimes councils will not contest appeals purely on the grounds that they want to clear a backlog. All this means that, more often than not, drivers are beating the traffic wardens when they appeal.
When you get a parking ticket, formally known as a Penalty Charge Notice, you have the choice of paying within 14 days, in which case the fine is halved, or appeal the ticket.
The size of the fine depends on the offence committed. The typical fine for parking in the wrong place is £120 but this is halved to £60 if paid within 14 days.
To appeal the ticket you need to send a letter to the council explaining that you are challenging the ticket, and why.
IMPORTANT ‘ This is likely to be the last chance for you to pay the ticket at half-price. If you write to the council to appeal, the process may take you over the 14 days and the fine will be the higher amount. You can ask for the fine to be frozen at the lower amount until a resolution of the appeal, but there are no guarantees the council will grant you this. If you are not confident of your appeal, it will cost less to pay now.
The council will either accept the challenge, and withdraw the fine, or will reject the challenge. If they reject the challenge they will send you a Notice to Owner form for you to make formal representations. You will then have 14 days to make these formal representations. This is where you set out why the ticket should be rescinded.
The council can accept your representations, and drop the fine, or can reject them. In which case, you will be sent a Notice of Rejection of Representation and Appeal Notice form.
You will then have 28 days to lodge your appeal with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (Parking and Traffic Appeals Service, in London). This is independent from the council and will decide on your case. You need to be aware that the fine will increase by 50 per cent if you fail in your appeal.
Grounds for appealing your ticket
The legal grounds for appeal are as follows, and you must put your reason for appealing into one of these categories.
1. The contravention did not occur (This covers misleading signs, non-visible signs & markings, loading, in valid permit/parking voucher displayed, ticket was not issued etc.)
2. The penalty exceeded the relevant amount.
3. The Traffic Regulation Order was invalid. (This only applies if the authorities regulations are legally defective)
4. I was not the owner of the vehicle when the alleged contravention occurred.
5. The vehicle was taken without my consent (e.g. stolen) at the time the alleged contravention occurred.
6. We are a hire company and have supplied the hirer’s name and address.
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