Appealing a Penalty Charge Notice

Most types of illegal parking (although not dangerous parking) are now no longer considered a crime. In most major UK cities, parking restrictions are handled by uniformed Parking Attendants who are normally employed by contractors for the local council.

Penalty charge notices

Under this system, an offender pays the Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) (it's no longer called a fine) and there is a 50% discount for paying the PCN within 14 days. If you send a letter appealing the PCN to the local council (or appeal online where that option is available) within 14 days of the date of the PCN, you can sometimes preserve the 50% discount rate until 14 days after the date of a Notice of Rejection of Representations.

Appealing a PCN

Under the current legislation, local councils have an overriding duty to act 'fairly'; therefore, a well-drafted representation can often get the local council to waive the PCN. You have nothing to lose (and everything to gain) in appealing a PCN for legitimate reasons. When you are in receipt of a 'Penalty Charge Notice' for parking, you can produce a letter to challenge a parking fine to appeal it through LawEasier for only £18. This letter should be sent to your local council. It is not suitable for use where you were in a hire car or received a parking ticket for parking on private land. To get the most out of this letter, you should send it within 14 days of the alleged offence. If your challenge is rejected, you will still preserve the 50% discount on the fine for 14 days after receipt of the official notice of rejection.

A full list of grounds for appeal (outside London) is available on the Traffic Penalty Tribunal website and (inside London) the London Tribunals website.

Grounds of appeal a for parking fine

Some grounds of appeal include:

'I wasn't the owner at the time of the alleged parking contravention.'
If you make representations on this ground, you're legally obliged to give the name and address of the new owner (or the previous owner), if you know that information. Remember, it is the owner of a vehicle who is responsible for paying a PCN, not the driver.

'When the vehicle was parke it was taken without my consent.'
This ground for representation covers both stolen vehicles and vehicles that were used without the owner's consent but weren't stolen. The latter category could apply, for example, to a vehicle taken by 'joy riders'. You'll normally be expected to give the council a Crime Reference Number if you use this ground.

'We're a vehicle hire firm and have supplied the name and address of the hirer.'
This covers hire vehicles where the hirer has signed a formal agreement accepting responsibility for any PCNs issued during the period of hire. You'll be expected to supply details of the hirer's name and address, ideally with a copy of the signed hire agreement.

'The alleged parking contravention didn't occur.'
This can include situations where the regulations don't apply in the situation, e.g. loading or unloading was taking place. Another example would include if a PCN was allegedly issued too early by the Parking Attendant or if a vehicle was allegedly displaying a valid permit, ticket, badge, etc. There can be wide interpretations of 'didn't occur'.

'The penalty charge exceeded the relevant amount.'
This covers situations where you were asked to pay the wrong amount for the penalty charge or no PCN was issued for the contravention.

In addition, you can argue that a PCN should be cancelled for other 'compelling reasons'.