Appealing Against a Parking Ticket

Preparing for an Appeal

If you genuinely believe that your parking ticket (officially known as a Penalty Charge Notice, or PCN) was issued unfairly, you do not have much to lose by appealing, as the 14 day deadline before which the fine can usually be paid off at half price can be extended to 14 days subsequent to a rejection of an appeal.

As soon as you become aware of your parking ticket, your mind should turn to gathering evidence which may help you in your appeal.


If you have a camera, it is wise to take as many pictures of the scene as possible to aid your explanation. This can include unclear road signs and marking which may have led you to inadvertently mis-park, or indeed any markings which should have been there but were absent.

You may also like to take a photograph of your car, although this may be flimsy evidence as you could have moved it before you took the photo.


Any supporting paperwork can also be invaluable to your appeal. These could be in the form of proof of any mitigating circumstances that were at work, for example a doctor’s note to prove impairment of ability to drive, travel documents if you were holiday at the time, or a crime reference number in the case of your car being stolen. Statements from witnesses can also be a powerful tool – if you can find somebody who is prepared to write and sign a statement it will add extra bite to your claim.

It is advisable to make several copies of any document which you feel is important to your appeal.

Submitting the appeal

If your parking ticket 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.

Independent tribunal

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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