Parking Ticket Appeal Letter Template

If you are appealing a parking fine, you may in some circumstances need to write a letter stating your case. It can be helpful to use a parking ticket appeal Letter template to ensure you are providing all relevant information.

Before you write the letter, the first step in making an appeal is to clarify who issued the ticket. This could be the police, a council or local authority, or a private company that manages the car park where you left your vehicle. How you appeal and what you include in your appeal letter will then depend on which of these bodies you are appealing to.

In this guide, we explain what to include in your appeal letter in the case of councils and private parking operators. As parking notices from the police are a criminal matter, you would not write a letter of appeal. Instead, your case would go to a magistrate’s court.

The appeal letters covered here are the ‘informal’ and ‘formal’ appeals that you make direct to the Council or company that issued your ticket. If your appeal is rejected then you would need to make a further appeal the relevant independent appeal body. That further appeal is outside the scope of this article.

Parking fine appeal letter to a Council or local authority

You may be able to appeal twice to the Council by submitting an informal appeal followed by a formal appeal – it depends on how you received the Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

If the PCN is stuck to your car window then you must first make an informal challenge. There is no form to fill in to lodge an informal challenge – you should simply write or email to the address on the back of the ticket. You can include the following information:

  • PCN number
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Date the ticket was issued
  • Why you are appealing e.g. the ticket was wrongly issued or there are mitigating circumstances

You should then set out the reason(s) for your appeal. This can include that you cannot afford to pay, in which case you should include proof of your financial position.

If your informal challenge was unsuccessful, or you ignored the PCN when you got it, you will receive a ‘Notice to Owner’(NTO). If you received your PCN by post then it is already an NTO. In all three cases you should lodge a formal appeal. You will receive a formal appeals form with the NTO, but it is advisable to include a separate letter and refer to it on the form, so that you have the space to cover all that you wish to say.

Your formal appeal letter should include the following information:

  • PCN number
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Date the ticket was issued
  • Statement that: “This letter is in addition to the formal appeal form, which I enclose.”
    State that: “This formal appeal is made in accordance with the Traffic Management Act 2004.”
  • Why you are appealing e.g. the ticket was wrongly issued or there are mitigating circumstances

You should then set out the reason(s) for your appeal and refer to the evidence that you enclose to support your appeal.

Finally, you could state that if they do not cancel the ticket, then you will appeal to the relevant independent adjudicator. This depends on where you live:

  • England and Wales – Traffic Penalty Tribunal
  • Scotland – Parking and Bus Lane Tribunal for Scotland
  • Northern Ireland – Northern Ireland Traffic Penalty Tribunal
  • London – Environment and Traffic Adjudicators

Make sure that you refer to the actual adjudicator for your home country, as this will look like you know what you are talking about.

It is worth making this second, ‘formal’ appeal if you are unsuccessful at the informal stage, as your appeal could well be looked at by someone different.

Parking fine appeal letter to a private company

Unfortunately, there is no single letter that will cover all the categories of private parking operators in the UK. Therefore, in this guide, we will cover appeals in the following categories:

  • companies that are members of the British Parking Association (the BPA);
  • companies that are members of the International Parking Community (IPC); and
  • companies that do not belong to either the BPA or the IPC.

It is important to note that legally, the tickets issued by private parking companies are not fines, but invoices. In other words, according to the company’s own legal analysis, by parking on the land in question you have entered into a contract with them, but failed to adhere to the terms and conditions of that contractual relationship and been invoiced accordingly.

BPA and IPC appeal letter

If you receive a parking ticket from a BPA-member parking company or an IPC-member company then you should first appeal directly to the parking operator that issued your parking charge notice.

The legal basis under which private parking companies operate is different and more complicated than that of your local council. This means that your appeal letter, if it is to be really effective, needs to contain certain legal statements and questions that challenge the validity of the company’s actions under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

You should include the following information in your appeal letter:

  • Reference number of the parking ticket
  • Statement that “This is a formal challenge to [the company’s] issuing of a Parking Charge Notice”
  • Statement that “I dispute the claim, especially because it is disproportionate and punitive”
  • Statement that “I confirm that I was the registered keeper of the car on the [relevant date], but you can add if asked “but I choose not to comply with your invitation to name the driver as I am not required to do so as the keeper of the vehicle.”

You have a choice at this point as to how you want to continue with your letter.

If you wish to take a tough stance, you can request further information from the company from the suggested list below. You can pick whether you use all or one of the suggestions, but they are aimed at proving that, legally, the parking company is not allowed to issue you with a parking ticket.

  • What is the basis of the claim for the parking charge amount – is it damages for breach of contract, damages for trespass or a contractual sum?;
  • What is the name of the landowner? (this is not strictly necessary, but you can if you like state that you wish to send a copy of your letter to the landowner);
  • Please provide a copy of the contract between the parking company and the landowner – this is required by the BPA Code of Practice B.7. It is also a requirement of the IPC (Code of Practice 23.1) that the parking operator has written permission from the landowner to operate on their land; and
  • Please provide photographs of the signs that the parking company says establishes a lawful, legally enforceable contract between the company and you.

Alternatively, you can enter the reason(s) why you dispute the validity of the parking charge, for example that the parking attendant was wrong, the vehicle was not parked on the land in question, or other mitigating circumstances. You should also refer to the evidence that you attach to prove your points.

Where the company is not part of either the BPA or the IPC

Where you have received a parking ticket from a company that is neither a member of the BPA nor the IPC, you should not even ask the company for their appeals procedure. This is because the company in question has chosen not to join either the IPC or the BPA, so it is questionable how fair its appeals procedure will be. Also, by co-operating with the company’s procedure you could be seen to be acknowledging the validity of the ticket in the first place.

Instead, you should simply write to the company explaining that you do not accept its invoice and that you do not consider the charge to be fair. You can request information from the company, as suggested above in the section on appealing to a company that is part of the BPA / IPC.

How long do you have to submit an appeal?

Again, the time-scales are different depending on whether you are appealing against a Council-issued Penalty Charge Notice or a parking charge notice from a private company.

Timings for Council appeals

Try to submit your first, informal appeal letter within 14 days so that if you lose and decide to pay, you can probably still do so at the reduced rate.

Once you have received your NTO, you have 28 days to submit your formal appeal. If you received the NTO because you were caught by ANPR, then try to do so within 14 days, and in the case of CCTV, 21 days. That way, if your appeal is rejected, the Council may still give you the opportunity to pay your fine at the discounted rate.

Once you have submitted your formal appeal, the council has 56 days to respond or you will win the appeal automatically.

If your formal appeal is rejected then you will have 28 days to pay or to appeal to one of the independent adjudicators listed above.

It is free to lodge this appeal, called a ‘Notice of Appeal’, and you can chose whether you want to do it online, by post or have a hearing by telephone or even in person.

If you lose you will need to pay the penalty within 28 days or incur an extra 50% charge.

Timing for BPA appeals

You must make you formal appeal to the parking operator within 28 days of receiving the parking charge notice.

The operator has 14 days to acknowledge receipt of the your letter and 35 days to provide a comprehensive reply.

If your appeal to the parking company is unsuccessful then you have 28 days from the date of its rejection to appeal to POPLA. POPLA stands for ‘Parking on Private Land Appeals’ and is the independent body to which you can appeal if your formal challenge to the parking operator is unsuccessful.

Timing for IPC appeals

You must make a formal appeal to the parking operator within 21 days of receiving a parking ticket. The parking operator must respond to appeals within 28 days. However, where this is not possible, the parking operator should still let you know that they have received the appeal (within 28 days) and let you know the timeframe for concluding it.

If your appeal is rejected by the operator then you have 21 days from the date of the rejection to pay your fine or make a further appeal. The operator is also obliged to offer you the reduced rate of payment for 14 days, assuming that your original appeal was submitted within the correct timeframe. If you want to, you can take the matter further and lodge an appeal with the Independent Appeals Service (IAS). The IAS is the independent body to which you can appeal if your formal challenge to the parking operator is unsuccessful.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I ignore a parking charge notice?

It is definitely not advisable to ignore a parking charge notice if it has been issued by the local council or the police. This is because you will probably end up with a summons to appear in court and could receive a criminal penalty. If your ticket was issued by a private company then you could try to ignore it depending on the type of private operator that issued the ticket. It is possible that the company would seek a judgment in the small claims court and seek to enforce it via debt collectors.

Are private car park fines enforceable?

Yes, private car park fines are enforceable, but it depends if the company is part of either the British Parking Association or the International Parking Community. Where the company is a member of either of those bodies, then, ultimately, it could seek to enforce a ticket in the small claims court. Once the company has the court judgment then it can seek to recover the debt via a debt collection agency. Where the company is not a member of either of those trade bodies, it is less likely to go all the way to the court to enforce its ‘debt’.

How can I get out of a parking ticket?

You can potentially avoid paying your parking fine if you follow the correct appeals procedure and have a good reason for making the appeal. Simply disagreeing with the parking regulations or ‘running late’ will not be sufficient. You need to have a reason such as that the parking restriction was inadequately signed, or that the ticket was given to you during the 10 minute grace period.

What happens if you don’t pay parking charge?

If you don’t pay your parking charge you run the risk of incurring further fees and of having a court judgment against you. If your parking charge was issued by the police then you could end up committing a criminal offence if you do not pay. Alternatively, if the parking charge was issued by a company, it may simply give up and not pursue you any more.

Legal disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

Parking Ticket Appeal  Letter Template 2
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Lawble is a leading legal resource aimed at supporting people and businesses alike by providing reliable information, legal resources and links to leading and reputable legal service providers.

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