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How to appeal unfair parking tickets
Parking fines can be expensive and unexpected. They are a surprise that none of us want to see when we return back to our car, van or motorbike. Many of us would prefer not to have to pay this unwanted cost but there are occasions when you are within your rights to appeal against a parking fine.
In this blog, we’ll look into when you should and shouldn’t appeal against a parking fine, what you need to know about parking fines and how the appeals process works.
When can I appeal?
You have official grounds for appeal against a parking fine if:
- The signs showed the wrong information or they weren’t visible
- The warden or council should not have given you a ticket
- The council made an error on the ticket or letter you’ve received
- You didn’t own the vehicle at the time or your car had been stolen
- You have already paid the fine or you have been overcharged
There are also mitigating circumstances when you may be able to have your parking fine overturned, such as:
- Tending to an emergency or clearing an obstruction in the road
- Receiving a fine when you had broken down
- Dropping an ill patient off at hospital or you were too ill to move your car
- You were on holiday when parking was suspended for the space your car is parked in
- You had recently had a bereavement or you were parked there in order to attend a funeral
Why would I not be able to appeal?
However, there are certain occasions when you will not be able to appeal a parking ticket such as:
- Disagreeing with parking regulations
- Parking illegally for a few minutes
- Stating that there was nowhere else to park
- Agreeing that you were blocking the road or footpath
- You were getting change to put in the meter
What do I need to know about parking tickets?
Before you pay, act or fight your parking fine, there are some things you will need to know about parking tickets that will hopefully help you to decide how you should act.
- Make sure your ticket is official. Parking fines can be given by councils, the Police or a private company. A ticket will be from the council or the Police if it is called a Penalty Charge Notice, an Excess Charge Notice or a Fixed Penalty Notice. If it doesn’t say this then it is likely to be from a private parking company.
- If you want to appeal, put together some evidence. This can help you win your appeal by acting as an accompaniment to your appeals statement. Things such as correspondence, witness statements or photographs of things such as your car, ticket, the meter, and any unclear signs etc. can help you to back up your case.
- Be aware of liability. If you pay a fine, you are accepting liability so if you want to appeal, you shouldn’t pay straight away. However, don’t ignore it either and start putting together your appeal as soon as possible. Also, the driver isn’t always liable, if you don’t own the vehicle then you are not liable. If you are driving a hire car, the hire car company are within their rights to send you a payment demand or pay the ticket and then send you a bill.
- Different tickets have different rules. You can get a ticket through the post if you are caught on CCTV and you will have 21 days to pay the reduced rate instead of 14 days. If you receive an Excess Charge Notice or a Fixed Penalty Notice then they will operate under criminal law not civil law so there are slightly different rules for appeals.
How does the appeals process work?
If you are planning on making an appeal against your parking fine, then there are three different stages you can go through, each escalating in severity. These appeals are:
This stage is only for those who have had a fine stuck on their windscreen, you have 14 days from the date the fine was issued to make an informal challenge against this. You have 14 days because if you lose, most councils will still allow you to pay at a reduced rate so you don’t lose anything by appealing.
You should submit a letter to your council explaining why you are appealing providing as much as evidence and information as possible such as photographs, your vehicle registration number and the ticket number.
If your informal appeal was turned down, you received a ticket through the post or you haven’t paid but haven’t appealed, you will receive a Notice to Owner which will demand full payment and an appeals form.
To formally appeal, you will need to fill in the form stating your grounds for appeal and if you previously made an informal challenge it is worth resending all that information across in your formal appeal. The council you are appealing against will have 56 days to respond to your appeal or you will win by default.
Appeal to the independent adjudicator
If you don’t win your formal appeal then you will be sent a Notice of Rejection of Representations and a Notice of Appeal form. You can use this to challenge your parking fine at an independent tribunal as long as you fill in the form and submit it within 30 days of the date on the letter.
If you lose a formal appeal, you will no longer be able to pay your fine at half price so for many continuing onto an independent appeal is the next logical step. The adjudicator is appointed by the government and therefore is completely independent.
Most appeals such as this are based on written appeals with evidence submitted but you can request a personal hearing if you would like to have the chance to explain your situation and reasoning. If you lose this appeal, you will be required to pay the original parking fine in full.