By law every Parking ticket or Penalty Charge Notice issued in the UK carries a civil fine which it must also outline the means of appealing.
Appealing a penalty charge notice (PCN) is not only lawful, it also seems quite fruitful. Research has shown 70% of the PCN’s issued in the UK are cancelled on appeal.
Nevertheless a lot of motorists are deterred from going down the appeal route because they fear that the fine could increase if their challenge is turned down. But this ignores the inbuilt safeguards in the appeal system that freeze the fine when it is being challenged and re-offers it for a stipulated period of time if the appeal is ultimately refused.
In other words it is a no loss game. If the ticket is turned down you pay nothing, if it is not, you will still have the opportunity to pay at the amount outstanding when you appealed.
What is the discount period?
A parking ticket can be settled at 50% of the cover price if this amount is received within 14 days of the date it is issued. (This will not necessarily apply to CCTV issued tickets) The discount period is a legal requirement instructing local authorities to accept a 50% reduction in the parking fine if it is paid within 14 days from the date of issue of the penalty charge notice. This concession does not preclude the right to appeal while still retaining the right to pay the concessionary rate (50% of the cover fine) if the appeal is rejected
To illustrate how the discount payment system works in relation to appeals, I have analysed a hypothetical case study below.
A parking ticket (full cover price – £100) is issued on the 2nd of May 2012. It offers the motorist a 14 day period to settle the fine at the 50% discretionary rate (i.e. £50), if the payment is made within the 14 day discount period.
Scenario 1 – Motorist appeals within 14 days of the ticket being issued
If the motorist decides to appeal the ticket, and still benefit from the discounted payment if the appeal is turned down, the appeal would have to be received by the council by the 16th May 2012 at the latest.
If the appeal is accepted the ticket will be cancelled and no fine will be payable. However if the local authority turns it down, the council’s letter rejecting the appeal, regardless of the date it was sent out, will re-offer the opportunity to pay at the discounted rate. This is provided the payment is received within 14 days from the date on the council’s rejection letter.
So assuming the letter of rejection is sent out on the 14th of June 2012, it will offer the motorist an opportunity to pay at the discounted rate so long as the payment is received by 28th June 2012, or 14 days from the date of the letter rejecting the motorists appeal.
Scenario 2- Motorist Appeals after 14 days but within 28 days of the ticket being issued
Let’s assume that the motorist decides to appeal, but sends in his or her appeal letter on the 19th of May 2012 – 17 days after the ticket was issued and 3 days after the crucial 14 day discount deadline has expired.
In this situation if the council refuses the appeal, the letter of rejection will not re-offer the 14 days discount period, since the challenge was received 3 days after the original discount payment period expired. Therefore a refusal of the appeal would require the fine be settled in full (£100).
Both scenario 1 and 2 are regarded as informal appeals that can be made by the vehicle driver, not necessarily the vehicle keeper. They are informal because they will predate the issuing of a Notice to Owner which is dealt with in Scenario 3
Scenario 3- Appeals after 28 days from the date of issue of the ticket
An appeal against a parking ticket received within a 28 day period from the date of its issue is called a pre-NtO letter of appeal. Both scenarios above would fall into this category. Pre NtO means appeals received by the local authority before the issue of an NtO or Notice to Owner.
A Notice to Owner is a formal notification of a penalty charge notice or parking ticket. It is issued to the vehicle Keeper (owner registered at the DVLA) 28 days after the date of issue of a PCN if it still remains unpaid. In cases of CCTV issued tickets sent by post, the Penalty charge notice also serves as the NtO.
The NTO would offer the keeper, who will be ultimately responsible for paying the charge, a final opportunity to settle it (at the full cover price) or make a formal appeal against it, called a representation. If this representation is rejected the motorist will be offered the final stage of appeal – to the independent Parking adjudicator whose decision is final and binding on all parties.
Only the keeper of a vehicle is permitted to answer a Notice to Owner, however any pre-NTO letter can come from the person driving the car at the time of the infringement even if that person is not the vehicle keep registered at the DVLA.
Parking tickets can be appealed with the right to pay at the discount still retained provided any appeal is sent within 14 days of the ticket being issued
- Any appeal received after the 14 days discount period but within the 28 day period before the issuing of a Notice to Owner will be answered as an informal appeal, but if turned down the discount will not be offered
- The driver of a vehicle and not necessarily the owner can make an informal appeal on any parking ticket
- Once a Notice to Owner or NtO has been issued any response to it will be regarded as a formal appeal and can only be sent by the vehicle keeper (or Owner registered at the DVLA). These are called representations
- The right to appeal to an independent adjudicator can only be made by the vehicle keeper once the his or her representation has been turned down