How to appeal a parking ticket
Do you feel you've been given a parking ticket unfairly?
From knowing whether you have a good case to filling out the right forms, this post is dedicated to making the process of appealing as clear as possible.
Is it worth appealing?
Figures quoted by the Money Saving Expert site say that of the approximately 70,600 motorists who took an appeal all the way to the official independent appeals body from 2013/2014, 56% won, so if you do feel certain the ticket was issued unfairly, it's well worth lodging an appeal.
If you're not certain, think carefully because there's a risk you'll have to pay more, either by losing your 14-day discount, (a reduction in your fine that you are granted if you pay it within 14 days), or as a result of court fees if you don't win the appeal.
If you're going to appeal, you shouldn't pay the fine beforehand, (it's harder to claim back) and you should make sure you appeal within the 14-day discount period if possible, including a line in your letter of appeal asking for the fine to be frozen while you appeal.
When should you appeal?
Many parking tickets are justified, but yours could be deemed unfair if: you didn't break the rules for parking in that location, the rules weren't clearly displayed, or the fine you were given is too high.*
Other reasons to contest a parking ticket include: • if your car was stolen • if your car didn't belong to you when the ticket was issued • if the ticket machines were not working • if you parked in mitigating circumstances - including health issues, bereavement, or because your car broke down while you were parked
You'll need evidence to back up these claims.
To prove that you were unfairly ticketed, take photos to back up your case. They might show the parked car and surrounding area, or the road signs and ticket meter for instance.
Could you gather any witness statements? For example, if you were just loading or unloading at the time.
If your car broke down while you were parked, get a receipt from the repairs garage or your emergency recovery provider backing this up.
Was your car stolen? Find out your crime reference number.
If there were mitigating circumstances, gather evidence such as death certificates or doctors' notes.
If you didn't own the car at the time, include your purchase receipt or receipt of sale; you'll also need evidence that you informed the DVLA of the sale.
What type of ticket is it - Civil or Criminal?
The type of ticket you get will determine your course of action.
It might be a Civil Law parking ticket, which is called a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) and is issued by a Civil Enforcement Officer (a parking warden) or by local councils and Transport for London.
It might be a Criminal Law parking ticket, called an Excess Charge Notice or Fixed Penalty Notice. These are issued by some councils or police-appointed traffic wardens. The ticket will quote the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and it will say it is issued by a local authority or police force.
Once you know which type of ticket it is, follow the relevant steps below:
Appealing a Civil Ticket
1) Within 28 days of receiving the ticket (and preferably within the 14-day discount period), make an informal appeal by writing a letter to the council that issued the PCN. Their contact details should be on the ticket. Some councils let you do this online. Include your address, vehicle registration number, penalty notice number, and details of why you believe the parking ticket was unfair. Include a copy of any evidence you've got to support your case.
2) If you don't win your appeal at the informal stage, if more than 28 days have passed since you were given the ticket, or if you received your ticket by post, make a formal appeal. The council will have sent you a Notice to Owner form, which you can use to appeal.
Send off this form within 28 days of receiving it, and re-attach copies of all of your evidence.
3) The council has to respond within 56 days of receiving your formal appeal, or you will win by default.
4) If you have won your appeal, the council will write to you. Congratulations!
If you have not won your appeal, the council will send you a Notice of Rejection letter, and possibly a Charge certificate. You'll receive a Notice of Appeal form too, which you'll need to send off to avoid paying the amount stated in the Charge letter.
Send the Notice of Appeal form off within 28 days of receipt (calculated from two days after the date on the letter), and send copies of all your evidence again.
5) Next, your appeal will be heard by an independent tribunal. You don't usually have to attend a meeting - the process can be done online, over the phone, or by post.
6) If you win your appeal - congratulations! If not, you'll have to pay your fine within 28 days, to stop it being increased by 50%.
Appealing a Criminal or Police-issued ticket
1) Send an informal appeal letter to the Central Ticket Office where the ticket was issued. See step one above for details of what to include.
2) If your appeal is rejected, or of you don't or can't appeal informally, you will be sent a Notice to Owner letter. To appeal again, use that form to ask for a hearing at a Magistrates Court. It's a good idea to get legal advice for this, and you'll need to attend the court hearing to argue your case. Be aware that if you lose, the fine will be increased by 50%. You might also have to pay court costs.
What Happens Next?
If you win, you won't have to pay your parking ticket.
If you lose your appeal, pay the fine as soon as possible to stop the amount you have to pay going up.
We know how frustrating getting a ticket can be, so we hope you've found this guide useful.