1 Act quickly to appeal a parking ticket
If you get a parking ticket on your car windshield and agree to pay the council parking 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 council parking fine, 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 the parking fine
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 Charge Notice (PCN), Excess Notice Charge (ECN) or Standard Notice Charge (SCN).
What is a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)?
A Penalty Charge Notice, often shortened to PCN, is a fine for civil, not criminal, offences. So, you won’t get a criminal record or points off your licence.
They’re handed out mostly for parking or driving offences, such as driving in a bus lane, restricted turn or yellow box junctions.
A PCN and can be delivered by post, by hand or stuck to your car windscreen.
Once handed out, you’ve got 28 days to pay or challenge it but if you pay in the first 14 days, the penalty is usually halved.
A PCN can be up to £70 outside London and up to £130 inside London.
2 Create your parking ticket appeal letter
Appeal your parking ticket
If you’ve been issued with a parking ticket you think is unfair, you have the right to challenge it. Create your appeal letter.Start your appeal
To give your appeal the best chance of succeeding you should include all the supporting evidence you can.
You can also download a copy of our template letters:
- Letter to start your formal appeal against a parking ticket
- Letter to contest a parking ticket because your vehicle was stolen
- Letter to contest a parking ticket on the grounds you didn’t own the vehicle
3 Follow the council's process
If you do appeal the fine, make sure you follow the council's parking fine 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.
Helpful template letters
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 council parking fine 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 parking fine 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.
Jen Doyle says:
Would an appeal to POPLA (www.popla.co.uk) against a Parking Charge Notice succeed based on the fact I thought I had paid via RingGo: I paid for “Rother Street”. The car park is apparently called...
Dane Johnson-Keck says:
I was picking up my apprentice from a train station before work. His train was cancelled so he was 15mins late. I waited on the side of the road in a carpark for him, with out even parking or...
John W says:
I received a PCN for parking on private land in a car park in Liverpool recently. We were clocked in/out of the car park via number plate recognition cameras, and in total we were in the car park...