Appealing Against a PCN
Submitting the appeal
If your PCN was placed on your windscreen then you will be able to make what is known as an informal appeal, which is then passed on to the formal process if rejected. Alternatively, if your car was clamped or towed or you were sent your PCN in the post, your appeal will start at the formal stage.
Informal appeal process
To make your initial informal appeal, all that you need to do is write a letter to the council, or whichever organisation issued your ticket. In your letter you should explain why you feel the fine is unfair and attach all the evidence you have gathered which supports this assertion. You should also give your address, vehicle registration number and PCN number.
You must make this effort promptly (within 14 days) to retain the chance of paying off the fine at half price if the informal appeal is successful. The total time allowed to send in a letter is 28 days.
Winning at this stage is unlikely, but does happen. If you are not so lucky, you must now make a formal appeal if you wish to continue. But be warned, if you do this, you relinquish the opportunity to pay a reduced fine if you fail.
Formal appeal process
If you made an informal appeal which was rejected (see above) then you will be issued a Notice to Owner (NtO) which serves a dual purpose. It gives you the choice of either paying the full fine or making a formal appeal, a form for doing which is included.
Otherwise, i.e. if your ticket was sent in the post or your vehicle was clamped or towed away, your appeal will start at the formal process. In either case you should be provided with a form along with your ticket.
Once you have the form to hand, you simply need to fill it out with the necessary details. There will be space to outline your grounds for appeal but it may be preferable to address these in a separate letter to give yourself more opportunity to elaborate.
The formal appeal will be handled by a different person to that who dealt with your informal appeal if you made one, so you should resend all of your supporting evidence and information.
Formal appeal result
If you fail to win your appeal at this stage then the council will invite you to take your case to an independent tribunal. The form for doing so, called a Notice of Appeal, needs to be submitted within 28 days of your receiving it.
It is worth your effort to appeal to an independent tribunal if the council rejects your formal appeal, as it’s free, and your chances of winning are greater. What’s more, the process is carried out entirely by post, fax or email — there are no court hearings to attend.
Before forward your appeal to the independent tribunal you’ll need to gather all of your correspondence with the council including rejection letters, along with the evidence you have been using at previous stages.
The organization which will adjudicate your case will depend on which part of the country the alleged infringement took place:
Your appeal to the independent adjudicator will have one of several outcomes:
- You win and do not have to pay the fine
- You lose and must pay the fine within 28 days, otherwise the fine may double
- The adjudicator has to dismiss your appeal but feels there are mitigating circumstances and asks the council to waive the fine. The council will then inform you of its decision within 35 days; if it does not, you will win by default.
If you reach this stage and have not won, unfortunately it is very unlikely that you will be able to appeal again. Even if the adjudicator does explain to you that you can take things further, it is likely to involve heavy legal costs and going to court.
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