Complaining About a Public Parking Ticket
Parking tickets are often issued unfairly and you may wish to complain. Although it may take you some time to fight the ticket, 70 percent of Appeals are won so it is well worth it. There are different rules for public and private notices and this section deals with public parking tickets only.
Who Has to Pay the Fine?Although it is the driver of the vehicle who incurs the fine, it is actually the vehicle’s registered keeper who is responsible for the fine unless you were driving a hire vehicle at the time. If you intend to Appeal it, then you must notify the company of your intentions.
Acting ImmediatelyWhen you are issued with a public parking ticket, you are required to pay a fine within 28 days or the fine increases so it is important that you act immediately. A fine is normally halved if you pay within 14 days. Do not pay the fine as this is admitting liability. If your car has been clamped or towed away then you will have to pay the fine but make it known to them that you are paying in protest.
Supporting EvidenceGather as much supporting evidence as you can such as photographs of where the vehicle was parked, signage or lack of, parking metres or bays etc and anything that you believe can support your Appeal, such as witness statements, proof of mitigation, or a crime reference number if your car was stolen or taken without permission.
The first step is to find out who issued the notice as there are civil and criminal tickets issued and different rules applied to each. The council or local authority may issue a PCN which is the most common civil notice and Fixed Penalty Notices issued by the police are classed as criminal notices.
Grounds for AppealGrounds of Appeal differ whether under civil or criminal law. Criminal rules can vary, so either check your council's website or if the police issued a ticket, call the number listed, to ensure you know the rules. In general, it is worth reading the civil guidelines as the same principles usually apply. Under Civil rules, there are nine official grounds for appealing a ticket with the most common being that the alleged contravention did not occur. In other words, they got it wrong. This can include inadequate, blocked or wrong signage, faded markings and anything ambiguous. If your vehicle was clamped or towed, there are separate grounds for Appeal that you will need to look at.If you admit you were parked illegally but there were mitigating circumstances then detail them. You can include being unable to pay the fine, though it is luck of the draw whether they will cancel the fine or not.
Informal AppealThis is the first step of the Appeals process. Write to the authority telling them that you believe the notice was given unfairly and the reasons why. Make sure you send all the evidence at each stage of correspondence as it is likely to be seen by different people at each stage of the process. You must adhere to the guidelines set when corresponding as otherwise you’re likely to lose by default. The body may take some time to respond but after 56 days of not hearing anything, you’re likely to win by default.
Formal AppealIf the informal Appeal does not work, detail your complaints in their standard Appeal form with all evidence attached. The Council has 56 days to respond to you or you win by default. If they do respond, it will either tell you that you’ve won or they will send a Notice of Rejection of Representations letter. At this stage, you will have lost the right to pay half of the fine so there is no harm in continuing and you will only be told to pay the council’s costs if your claim is found to be vexatious or frivolous, in other words, a waste of time. Another form will be sent which you have 28 days to complete if you wish to Appeal further.
Independent TribunalYou need to submit with the form and attach evidence again, with a separate letter detailing your reasons for Appeal. You may wish to attend a hearing personally though it not a court hearing and most are satisfied with writing. Your appeal may be upheld, or dismissed, giving you 28 days to pay the fine. They may also dismiss the Appeal but give reasons why the council should dismiss the fine. If so, the council will notify you within 35 days of its decision.
If you would like more information about fighting a parking ticket then contact your nearest Citizen Advice Bureau.