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Advice on Appeals Advice on Appeals

The Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS) provides a free, independent adjudications service for deciding disputed parking, bus lane and moving traffic penalties issued by local authorities.

Penalty Tickets & Appeals

Parking tickets, more formally known as Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), are usually issued by a parking attendant at the scene. They may, however, be sent to the owner of the vehicle by post, for example if the contravention was observed using a CCTV camera in a bus lane or red route.

What to do

Do not ignore parking tickets. They may carry extra penalties if not paid (or contested) promptly. In order to qualify for a discount, payment must be received by the council within 14 days. A payment slip accompanies the ticket, if you wish to pay the ticket but have lost the payment slip, contact the council. If your company is paying then make sure that they get the ticket and pay early.

The ticket will show the alleged contravention, plus the date, time and location. If you feel it was wrongly issued, or that there are special circumstances in your case, you should write to the council. They may cancel the ticket, or turn down your case and inform you about your rights to take the matter further. If you write to the council within 14 days of receipt of the PCN they will usually give you another opportunity to pay at the reduced rate even if they turn down your case.

If you wish to reserve your right to appeal against the ticket you should not pay the penalty. Paying a PCN will usually result in the case being closed. If you are not the registered keeper of the vehicle, let the keeper know they should expect a 'Notice to Owner' demanding payment of the penalty. Ask them not to pay when they receive the 'Notice to Owner' but to make 'Representations' instead.

Notice to owner

If a parking ticket isn't paid within 28 days a 'Notice to Owner' is sent to the keeper registered at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), regardless of who was driving. The 'Notice to Owner' provides you with an opportunity to either pay the outstanding penalty or make formal 'representations'. The penalty needs to be paid or representations made within 28 days. If you do not make representations within 28 days the council can disregard them. Do not hand the 'Notice to Owner' to the driver, if the driver does not pay the PCN, you could be liable for an increased charge and lose the opportunity to appeal.

If you make a case under one of the statutory grounds (see below) the council should cancel the 'Notice to Owner'. If none of the statutory grounds apply to your case you can still make representations to the council and ask them to take other circumstances into account. The council is not obliged to waive the penalty, but they may do so in exceptional circumstances.

The Road Traffic Act makes the owner, not the driver, liable for most parking penalties.

Challenge a Parking PCN

Statutory Grounds to Challenge a Parking PCN

  • The contravention did not occur. For example: the contravention (as described on the ticket) did not happen; the parking restriction was not properly signed; the reason for stopping was lawful in the circumstances (e.g. vehicle broken down or stopped briefly to pick up passengers). If you can you should submit evidence to support your claim (e.g. if claiming you stopped to unload goods, send a copy of any delivery note).
  • The penalty exceeds the relevant amount. For example: you are being asked to pay the wrong amount; the parking ticket was not correctly issued; the council claims you paid less (or later) than you did.
  • The traffic management order was invalid. This applies if the traffic management order is defective.
  • The parking attendant was not prevented from serving the PCN. This applies when the council sent the PCN to you by post because it claims that the parking attendant was prevented by someone from issuing it at the scene.
  • I was not the owner of the vehicle at the time. For example: the vehicle was sold before the contravention occurred. If you can you should submit evidence to support your claim (e.g. copy of letter to DVLA, cancelled insurance) and the name and address of the buyer.

The two cases when the owner is not liable for penalties are:

  • When the vehicle was parked by someone in control of the vehicle without the owner's consent. For example, the vehicle was illegally parked after being stolen. If you can you should submit evidence to support your claim (e.g. letter from police showing crime report number or copy of insurance claim).
  • When the vehicle's owner is a hire company and has provided details of the hirer's name and address. This only applies where the hirer has signed a suitable agreement accepting liability for penalty charges.


Having considered your Representations the council will send you a 'Notice of Acceptance of Representations' if they agree you should not pay the penalty. If they feel you should pay they will send you a 'Notice of Rejection of Representations', in which case you must either pay the penalty or appeal to an independent adjudicator within 28 days using the appeal form provided with the Notice of Rejection

How to Appeal

You may only appeal after your representation to the council has been rejected. The Parking Traffic and Appeals Service, PATAS, provides a free independent adjudication service for deciding disputed parking, bus lane and issued by local authorities.

There is no charge for appealing and the penalty will not increase while your case is considered. Parking Appeals are dealt with in person or by post.

PATAS aims to provide a speedy, quality service that is easy to use, and as informal yet efficient as possible. They have a team of adjudicators who decide the appeals and can direct the local authority involved to cancel the penalty. The adjudicators form a statutory tribunal which is independent of the local authorities - their decision is final and binding on you and the council.

The PATAS hearing centre is at New Zealand House, near Trafalgar Square in central London. Hearings are normally held between 8:00am and 7:30pm during the week and between 9:00am and 1:00pm on Saturdays.

Read the council's rejection letter before submitting your appeal as this gives their reasons for not cancelling the penalty. The council's basic evidence against you is the parking ticket itself. In some cases the parking attendant may have made other notes at the time. If the council submits new evidence they will send you details before the date the adjudicator decides your case.

When submitting your appeal you should send in copies of any supporting evidence, even if you are unsure of its relevance. You should appeal within 28 days of receipt of the Notice of Rejection. If you send your appeal in late you need to explain why, so the adjudicator can decide whether to accept it. For further information about the appeals procedure or to use this service, please visit the PATAS website:

Useful telephone numbers

TRACE: 020 7747 4747

Parking appeals: 020 7747 4700