APPEAL A PCN: As a rule, you can dispute a penalty charge notice (PCN) if you believe the issuance of the parking ticket was wrong.
But, you must have already tried challenging a ticket to get it cancelled. A local council would call this part of the process a ‘representation’.
You can make an appeal against a penalty charge notice issued in England or Wales for parking as well as:
- Breaking certain traffic rules. Typical examples include driving in a bus lane or going against ‘no right turn’ road traffic signs.
- Failing to pay Dart Charge, London congestion, or LEZ charges on time.
There is a time limit for appealing parking fines. You get 28 days to make your appeal after receiving a ‘notice of rejection’. The authorities use this particular document to reject a formal challenge.
How to Appeal a PCN
You will need to contact the appropriate authority to make an appeal. As a general rule, it depends on where the PCN got issued.
- Contact the Traffic Penalty Tribunal for PCNs issued outside of London (in England or Wales). This also applies to a PCN issued from Dart Charge.
- Contact ‘London Tribunals‘ for penalty charge notices (PCN) issued in London.
Note: The issuing authority cancel the PCN if the appeal is successful. That means you will not have to make any payment. The methods of appealing a penalty charge notice differ in Scotland and in Northern Ireland.
If a PCN Appeal Fails
The authority may refuse your appeal against a penalty charge notice. If it fails, you would get 28 days to pay the PCN parking fine.
Failing to Pay within 28 Days
So, what happens if you do not pay a penalty charge notice (PCN) inside the 28 day grace period? In this case, you would receive a ‘charge certificate’. The consequences of this mean you must also pay an extra 50% within fourteen (14) days of receiving it.
An Example: Suppose you received a £60 PCN parking fine. Getting a charge certificate on top would mean you have to pay £90.
Note: There are further consequences if you fail to pay a charge certificate within the 14 day period. You would receive a demand for payment by court order.
If You Receive a Court Order
After receiving an ‘order of recovery’ from a court you would get 21 days to pay the penalty charge notice. But, you can also choose to challenge a court order demanding payment.
In this case, they will instruct bailiffs or enforcement agents to visit your home or business. A bailiff has the legal power to collect the money that you owe.
Note: What happens if you do not pay the fine or challenge the court order within the 21 days?
Grounds to Challenge an Order of Recovery
There are several reasons allowed for challenging an order of recovery, such as if you:
- Never received a ‘notice to owner’. This informs you how to make a formal challenge to the authorities.
- Made a formal challenge and it was on time. But, you never received a ‘notice of rejection’.
- Made a timely appeal to an independent tribunal but you did not get any response.
- Can prove that you already paid the penalty charge (e.g. by credit card statement).
Challenging a Court Order
There are several different forms used to challenge an ‘order of recovery’. It will depend on whether the parking fine relates to:
- A parking PCN: Use ‘Form TE9: Witness Statement – Unpaid Penalty Charge (parking)‘.
- A Dart Charge PCN: Use ‘Form TE9 (Dart Charge): Witness Statement – Unpaid Penalty Charge‘.
- A low emission zone PCN: Use ‘Form PE3 (Vehicle Emissions): Statutory declaration (Vehicle emissions) – Unpaid penalty charge‘.
- All other PCNs (e.g. driving in a bus lane): Use ‘Form PE3: Challenge an unpaid penalty charge notice‘.
Fill in the appropriate form and then send it to the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC) within 21 days.
Traffic Enforcement Centre
County Court Business Centre
St Katharine’s House
21-27 St Katharine’s Street
If the Challenge is Successful
The order of recovery gets withdrawn if the challenge is a success. That also means the bailiffs will not be able to seize any of your property.
The next step is for the council or local authority who first issued the penalty charge notice (PCN) to do one of the following:
- Cancel the penalty charge notice (e.g. because you already paid the full amount).
- Issue a new notice to owner (you would get 28 days to pay it or challenge it).
- Refer the case to an independent tribunal.
Asking for More Time to Challenge a Court Order
There are certain instances where you can ask for extra time to challenge a court order. So, you may make a late challenge to an ‘order of recovery’ if:
- You received contact about a penalty charge notice (PCN) that you were unaware of.
- The authorities contact you about a paid or cancelled PCN.
- You never received a response to your ‘representation’ (formal challenge) or your appeal.
Note: The procedure for making a late challenge is also called an ‘out of time’ challenge to the order of recovery.
Making an ‘Out of Time’ Challenge
You need to use the correct ‘out of time form’. It gives you an opportunity to explain why you are making a late challenge. Send the relevant form along with the one needed to challenge the order of recovery.
The type of penalty charge notice that you received determines which ‘out of time form’ you need to use:
- A parking PCN: Use ‘Form TE7: Application to file a statement out of time / extension of time (parking)‘.
- A Dart Charge PCN: Use ‘Form TE7 (Dart Charge): Application to file a statement out of time / extension‘.
- All other PCNs: Use ‘Form PE2: Application to file a statutory declaration out of time‘.
The next step is for the authorities to stop any recovery action by bailiffs while they consider the ‘out of time’. The cessation takes place by the council or the authority that issued your PCN.
Authority Accepts an ‘Out of Time’ Challenge
Several things happen if an ‘out of time’ challenge gets accepted. First of all, the bailiffs must return any property that they seized. The council or authority must then decide the next step if the challenge is successful.
Authority Refuses to Accept an ‘Out of Time’ Challenge
So, what if the ‘out of time’ challenge gets refused by the council or the issuing authority? In this case, the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC) would review the case.
The TEC will send you a letter after their review of the case. It informs you whether your challenge was successful or unsuccessful. You can then ask a judge to review the decision made by the TEC if it remains unsuccessful.
Note: The issuing authority can also ask a judge to review the decision made by the Traffic Enforcement Centre.
Asking for a Judge to Review a TEC Decision
You will need to send Form N244 titled ‘Application notice’ to the Traffic Enforcement Centre. You must make the application within 14 days of the date they made the decision. There is a fee to pay for asking a judge to review a TEC decision.
Note: Read form N244 notes titled ‘Application notice (Form N244) – Notes for Guidance’ if you need help to fill in the application.
Fee for a Judge to Review a TEC Decision
The cost for court-handling fees would depend on whether you choose to attend a hearing for the presentation of your case.
- Case decided by a district judge (without a hearing): Fee £100.
- Case decided with a hearing at your local county court: Fee £255.
Paying the fee may be difficult for people on a low income, on certain benefits, or with little savings. In this case, fill in form EX160 titled ‘Apply for help paying court fees‘. You might get a fee reduction.