How to appeal a council parking ticket

Few people contest their parking ticket, but two thirds of those who do win their case. Use our guide and our free parking ticket appeal tool to help you appeal.

1 Act quickly to appeal a parking ticket

If you get a parking ticket on your car windshield and agree to pay the fine, you are entitled to a 50% discount on the full cost as long as you pay it within the first 14 days. 

For postal parking tickets a 21-day early payment discount applies.

But if you want to appeal your parking ticket, the discount should be frozen and should still apply as long as you make your appeal within the first 14 days of receiving your ticket. 

If you're going to appeal, you should do so as soon as possible after you receive your parking ticket. 

But remember, if you pay the parking ticket, the council will close the case and you will be unable to appeal.

Five reasons you might want to appeal 

1. The contravention didn’t occur. For example, there were unclear or misleading signs, non-visible markings, or the ticket wasn't issued.

2. The council says the ticket was served by post because the traffic warden was prevented from giving the ticket but you didn't receive it.

3. The vehicle was stolen or you weren't the owner when the alleged contravention occurred.

4. The Traffic Regulation Order was invalid. For example, the council added a new restriction, such as a yellow line, without following procedures.

5. Mitigating circumstances, for example, health issues or vehicle breakdown. 

You can use our separate guide to appeal a parking ticket on private land of if you've been clamped.

You can follow the process outlined below whether you receive a Penalty Notice charge (PCN), Excess Notice Charge (ECN) or Standard Notice Charge (SCN). 

2 Create your parking ticket appeal letter

Use the tool below to create your own bespoke appeal letter. You should then send this to the council that issued the fine to begin your appeal process.

To give your appeal the best chance of succeeding you should include all the supporting evidence you can. 

Contest your parking ticket

If you’ve been issued with a parking ticket you think is unfair, you have the right to challenge it. Use our free letter generator to create your appeal letter.
Contest your parking ticket

You can also download a copy of our template letters:

3 Follow the council's process

If you do appeal, make sure you follow the council's appeals process. 

Many councils allow you to appeal online so check the council website for details.

If the process involves you writing to the council, make sure you include your address, your vehicle registration number and the ticket number. 

If you receive a ticket by post, it should include a formal appeal form. The information provided with your postal ticket will tell you how to proceed with your appeal.

4 Gather supporting evidence

You need to gather as much evidence as possible to make an appeal. If the ticket has come through the post a few days later, it will be a tougher task to gather evidence. But try to provide any supporting evidence you can, including:

  • Photographs of any particular road signs or road markings that are unclear
  • Photographs of the ticket meter, if it was broken
  • Witness statements, if possible
  • Any evidence of mitigating circumstances
  • The crime reference number, if your car was stolen

5 Appeal the council's decision

If the council accepts your reasons for appealing, your fine will be cancelled and you'll have nothing to pay.

If the council rejects your reasons, you will be sent a notice of rejection. At this point, the remaining days you have left qualifying you for a discount will be unfrozen.

For example, if you received a ticket on your windshield and appealed seven days after you received the ticket, you would have seven days in which to pay at the discounted rate. 

If you have been issued with an ECN or SCN, you should be informed of your appeal choices by the council or issuing authority in question.

6 Appeal to an independent tribunal

If the council rejects your appeal and you still think you have a strong case for not paying the parking charge, you can appeal to an independent body.

Consider carefully how strong you think your case is though because at this point you will lose the chance to pay a reduced charge.

An independent adjudicator will decide on your case. 

An adjudicator can only instruct the council to cancel your ticket on certain specified grounds. 

If the ticket is not appealed on the specified grounds such as those listed above, you'll need to have a compelling reason for your challenge.

Who you appeal to will depend on where the parking ticket was issued. It will be one of the following: 

England and Wales:  Traffic Penalty Tribunal

Northern Ireland:  Northern Ireland Traffic Penalty Tribunal

London:  London Tribunals

Scotland: The Scottish Parking Appeals Service (0131 221 0409)

7 What to do next

If the appeal is made in person or on the phone, the adjudicator will normally tell you the decision there and then.

If you appeal online or in written form, you will be notified either by email or letter. 

There are four possible outcomes, all of which will be explained to you:

1. You win.
2. You lose.
3. The appeal is adjourned to another date. 
4. The appeal is dismissed but the adjudicator considers there are compelling reasons why the penalty should not be paid. 

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