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20 Sep 2021
Jamie Gibbs Jamie Gibbs

Checklist for appealing an unfair PCN

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The process of appealing a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) could be a little confusing. We’ve made this checklist to help you work out what you need to include if you decide to appeal an unfair fine. 

We’ll be using the terms PCN and fine interchangeably throughout this guide. Similarly, we’ll be using the terms appeal and challenge interchangeably. 

Traffic warden signing a parking ticket

What happens if I don’t pay my fine?

If you refuse to pay the PCN, you could get a court order demanding payment and bailiffs could be sent to get what’s owed. You might have to pay 50% more than the original fine.

Luckily, PCNs don’t tend to result in penalty points on your licence, so it’s unlikely to impact your car insurance costs.

Before you make your appeal

It’s worth thinking about whether:

  • You truly believe the fine was unfair

  • The fine itself is worth appealing

  • You’ve gathered all the relevant evidence to back up the challenge.

Appealing a PCN you had through the post is a formal challenge known as a representation. You’ll need to send your challenge to your local council. Check GOV.UK to find out how you do this.

After you get the PCN, you have 28 days to make your appeal.

If you’re challenging a parking ticket specifically, check out our guide on fighting an unfair parking fine.

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How to appeal your PCN

A formal appeal has two stages:

  1. Explain why you think the fine is unfair and why you’re challenging it.

  2. Add all relevant evidence to support your appeal.

It might also help your appeal to include this information:

  • The date of the offence

  • Your vehicle registration

  • The PCN number.

Explain why you think the fine is unfair

Your reasons for challenging a PCN are your own. But some common excuses used in PCN appeals include:

  • Incorrect, unclear or missing road signs

  • Incorrect or unclear road markings

  • You didn’t actually commit the offence

  • You’ve already paid the fine

  • There’s no evidence supplied to back up the penalty

  • The car involved isn’t yours or was stolen.

Add all relevant evidence to support your challenge

It’s worth collecting as much evidence and documentation as you can to make your case robust.

The details of what will be relevant to your challenge might change from person to person. But here are some common pieces of evidence:

Photos

  • Any unclear, obscured or missing signage.

  • Unclear road lines or bay markings.

  • The position of your car and nearby cars.

Correspondence

  • Keep copies of correspondence between you and the issuing authority. This is in case you need to refer to something later.

Documents

  • A receipt if you’ve already paid the fine.

  • Police reports or crime number for a stolen car.

  • Notification to the DVLA if you no longer own the car.

Witness statements

  • Any statements from anyone who was there at the time that can back up your challenge.

You can get more information on what information to include from Citizens Advice.

What happens next?

If you’re successful, the authority might lower or waive the penalty altogether.

If the authority rejects your challenge, you’ll get a notice of rejection in the post. You’ll then have 28 days to pay the fine.

You could appeal the rejection and take the matter to an independent tribunal. Before you’re able to do this, you must have already taken the steps above and made a ‘representation’ challenge.

The process is a little different depending on where you are.

London

Visit the London Tribunals website, where you can submit your appeal online. You’ll need:

  • The particular offence you’re appealing against

  • The issuing authority

  • Your vehicle reg

  • The PCN number.

The appeals process is free to use and contains useful information on what evidence might help your case, depending on the offence.

England (ex. London) and Wales

Visit the Traffic Penalty Tribunal website where you can submit your appeal online.

Once you’ve submitted your evidence, you have the option of explaining your appeal in more detail via phone or a video hearing.

Otherwise, you might get an ‘e-decision’, where the appeal process is done entirely online.

Scotland

You can appeal your Notice of Rejection using the General Regulatory Chamber Tribunal website. You can also request an appeal form in the post by calling 0300 303 576.

You’ll have the opportunity to submit any evidence you’ve gathered to support your appeal.

GOV.SCOT has listed examples of evidence that could be used:

  • A pay and display ticket

  • A Blue Badge

  • Photos that show signs or road markings

  • Witness statements that have the witness' name, address and signature

  • Documents relating to the sale of the vehicle

  • Delivery documents for loading or unloading

  • A garage bill for a breakdown.

Northern Ireland

You can get more information on the appeals process for Northern Ireland at the Northern Ireland Traffic Penalty Tribunal.

The service helpfully provides a list of examples of appeals that were granted or refused. While each appeal might be different, this should help give some guidance to anyone thinking about submitting an appeal.

For more information on the appeals process in general, visit GOV.UK.

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