How to contest a parking ticket

Covered mag, presented by
  • | by Kristian Dando

Are there many more thankless ways of being parted from your hard-earned money than a parking fine? Not likely.

But according to, a service which specialises in helping frustrated motorists overturn parking fines, 80 per cent of people who appeal against parking tickets are successful.

There are plenty of reasons for getting a ticket overturned, from the ‘No Parking’ warnings not being clear or visible, to having something missing from the ticket itself – like the reasons for being issued a fine, the date or amount you are ordered to pay.

You may also have had a valid permit (if there was one required to park) and it wasn't spotted, or could have been parked on double yellow lines whilst unloading, which is permitted for 20 minutes. But how do you go about navigating the bureaucracy of the appeal process?

Thankfully, it’s not as complicated as you may think.

Starting your appeal

Write to the council which issued the fine explaining in detail why you believe the parking ticket was wrong. “The beginning of your letter is very important, it will set the tone of your content and will immediately tell the person reading whether or not you deserve your appeal,” says Jonathan Simms, managing director at If you write within 14 days of receiving the notice, the early-payment discount period is usually frozen until you receive a response.

Description is essential

"You may not have visual footage of the incident but if you are able to provide your explanation clearly and eloquently, the parking appeal team will be able to put themselves in your shoes," says Simms. Include any evidence to support your case, such as receipts, witness statements or photos. “Most of the tickets are overturned on the basis of evidence,” reckons Simms. “It’s the thing that the traffic wardens get wrong the most.”

Get your story straight

“You’d be surprised at the amount of people who make this mistake,” says Simms. It’s essential that you read your letter over before sending it off, as it could contain vital errors which can jeopardize your appeal. Ensure that the times which you stated match the times on the receipt. "Small details like these can make a massive difference," says Simms.

What to do if you are not successful

In the case of a rejection of a formal appeal by the council, you will receive a Notice to Owner (NTO) that officially orders you to pay the original charge. This will also inform you on how to present a further parking ticket independent adjudicators.

There are four different parking adjudication services serving different parts of the UK: Patas in London, The Traffic Penalty Tribunal for the rest of England and Wales, the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (NI) in Northern Ireland finally the Scottish Parking Appeals Servcice in Scotland.

You have 28 days from the day the NTO is served (usually two days) either to pay the parking ticket fee or lodge a formal appeal against the parking ticket. If you do neither, the council has the right to increase the fine by 50 per cent! If you choose not to pay, the council can register the debt at the county court and can then send bailiffs to recover it.