The Motorists' Guide to Appealing Parking, Bus Lane, Yellow Box Junction and Moving Traffic Tickets


Tips for Appealing

Do not pay the ticket up front if you intend to appeal!

This is a common mistake. If you do pay, you can't appeal as payment is considered to be an admission of guilt and the case is closed.


When you get a ticket.....


Check to ensure it's been issued correctly in terms of the hours and days of operation of the restriction. If it has, you could still be able to appeal on a number of other grounds:


1. The information on the ticket  - ensure the wording and way its been issued conforms with the law. Also check the act quoted (at the top of the ticket and notice to owner) and ensure it has been issued under the correct act. This site details the relevant legislation for each type of offence under "tickets and notices".


Does it really matter if the authority gets it slightly wrong? Yes it does. The authority has a duty to comply with the law and they cannot play fast and loose with it. Several cases have established this, including Wandsworth v Al's Bar and Restaurant.


With regards to any relevant time periods for appealing etc, it is also vital that the authority gets it spot on. This example from Melnikova v Enfield is proof of that and it doesn't matter if the motorist has been prejudiced or not. The adjudicator said:


"The fact that this appellant may or many have been prejudiced by this is not a cure to the substantive defect. The defect renders the penalty unenforceable"


2. Location - Make sure the ticket specifies exactly where the contravention occurred eg "High Street" is not good enough. This was confirmed in the case of Adamou v Haringey where Haringey didn't specify which yellow box they were referring to. The same is true for parking tickets. The council need to supply some evidence of the exact location.

3. Signs and roadmarkings  - makes sure these are present, legal and do not contradict each other.


Some councils may claim that just because a sign doesn't comply fully with the law that doesn't mean its invalid because it can still be understood. If this happens to you then quote the following case which established that this argument is not valid. (However note that this was before parking was decriminalised so some adjudicators may reject it).


Davies v Heatley [1971] R.T.R 145
"Because by s.64(2) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 traffic signs shall be of the size, colour and type prescribed by regulation, if a sign the contravention of which is an offence contrary to s.36 is not as prescribed by the regulation, no offence is committed if the sign is contravened, even if the sign is clearly recognisable to a reasonable man as a sign of that kind"


4. Traffic order - Ensure there is a valid traffic order which matches the restrictions on the street. You can request it in your appeal. (Yellow boxes and bus stops do not require traffic orders)


If you decide to appeal, follow these tips.....

  • Send all appeal letters by recorded delivery - otherwise some unscrupulous councils will deny they ever received your appeal. Or if you appeal by email ensure you get an acknowledgement.

  • Make sure you appeal within the time limits. If you don't, then the case will be sent to the Northampton Traffic Enforcement Centre who will start bailiff proceedings. If you did not receive the PCN or notice to owner and Northampton TEC contact you, you can file a statutory declaration within 36 days. See here for details.

  • Include photographic evidence and witness statements where necessary as well as any other evidence such as delivery notes.

  • If you have genuine mitigating circumstances then these should be included in your appeal letter. The council may decide to cancel your ticket as a gesture of 'goodwill'.

  • If it was a minor offence, say that the contravention comes under the point of "De minimis, the law does not concern itself with trifles". Many authorities and adjudicators use this against motorists so there is no reason why the same does not apply to them.

  • Ask the council to send photographic evidence and a copy of the relevant traffic order if they decide to reject your appeal.  If it was issued by CCTV, ask for proof an approved device was used (see below for more info). You can mention that this is a freedom of information request if you want.

  • If your appeal is rejected, ensure follow up notices comply with the law by checking the 'tickets and notices' section under the relevant offence on the left hand menu.

If The authority does not address the points in your appeal.....

The authority has a duty to address the points you raise and if it ignores them (with a standard letter as they often do) then that in itself is grounds for the PCN to be cancelled, as mentioned in the case of Stubbs v Westminster


The Adjudicator

If your appeal is rejected by the council you can appeal to the adjudicator; PATAS in London or the Traffic Penalty Tribunal in England outside London.


The adjudicator is independent and you can either receive a postal decision or attend a personal hearing. Costs can be awarded if the adjudicator considers that either party acted ‘frivolously, vexatiously or wholly unreasonably'. However please bare in mind that adjudicators are a law unto themselves. Even if you have a valid case the adjudicator may rule against you, either through lazyness, stupidity or bias. See the your views page for some examples. So there is never a guarantee that you will win. My advice is therefore to chose a personal hearing unless your case is clear cut.


If you decide to take the appeal all the way, then should you lose you will be liable to pay the full charge and unable to pay the 50% reduced amount. Unfortunately there is no way around this and it often deters people from appealing. However councils are also aware of this and for this reason usually reject the first appeal, often with a standard letter, even it is valid so bear this in mind. The majority of appeals which reach the adjudicator are won by the motorist. Many of these are not even contested by the council  - evidence that the council was aware all along they were in the wrong. 


If you lose....

If you lose the appeal, you can request a review in the interests of justice within 2 weeks. Normally there has to be additional evidence available or some other factual error that has been made. This stems from regulation 11 of The Road Traffic (Parking Adjudicators) (London) Regulations 1993  

If the Council pulls out before the case reaches adjudicator.....

Great you've won. However if you have a parking ticket and want to set a precedent and help other motorists, item 6 of the schedule to The Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) Representations and Appeals Regulations 2007 allows you to request the hearing goes ahead anyway.





Cameras used for parking enforcement need to be approved devices

The Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (Approved Devices) (England) Order 2007 (Click here for Wales). In 2011 parking Campaigner Barrie Segal won two cases against Westminster Council as they "failed to show that the CCTV footage was a record produced by an approved device" Search the PATAS site for case references 211000697A and 2110013024.


Paragraph 2c of the schedule to the above order requires that the recording device include a recording system in which "each frame of all captured images is timed (in hours, minutes and seconds), dated and sequentially numbered automatically by means of a visual counter". Check your photos have this.



If you have an exemption eg you were loading but no longer have the evidence, you can still appeal. An adjudicator in case number MW06082F (see page 26 from here) ruled that the council should not have used CCTV to enforce when someone was loading. Section 48 of The Secretary of State's Statutory Guidance to Local Authorities on the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions states:


"The Secretary of State recommends that approved devices are used only where enforcement is difficult or sensitive and CEO enforcement is not practical. Approved devices should not be used where permits or exemptions (such as resident permits or Blue Badges) not visible to the equipment may apply."


Section 87 of the Traffic Management Act states that local authorities must have regard to this guidance. Page 20 of the JOINT REPORT OF THE PARKING ADJUDICATORS FOR ENGLAND AND WALES 2009/10 contains a critical analysis of CCTV enforcement and backs up the idea that it should only be used in special circumstances and only with CCTV signage.


Bus Lanes Outside London

Cameras used for bus lane enforcement under the Transport Act need to be approved devices

The Bus Lanes (Approved Devices) (England) Order 2005


Bus Lanes in London

These are enforced under the London Local Authorities Act 1996. There is no requirement for the specific camera to be approved. All that is required is that it is a "prescribed device" as per the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 which defines a prescribed device as "a camera designed or adapted to record the presence of a vehicle on an area of road which is a bus lane or route for use by buses only."


Moving Traffic Offences in London

There is currently no specific legislation governing CCTV equipment that can be used for the enforcement of moving traffic contraventions.


CCTV Warning Signage

A case was won at adjudicator in Wirral as no camera warning signage was provided. It was publicised in the national press BBC, Daily Mail. See below for an example appeal letter. However please do not rely on this as cases have also gone against the motorist on these grounds. There is no legal requirement for camera warning signs, the decision was based on guidance. I have had reports of other motorists winning their appeals informally on this basis so I think it is wirth including but as always there is no guarantee it will be a winner.

Example/Template Appeal Letter for CCTV ticket

Please note that the warning sign element is based on guidance not legislation and while the adjudicator in the Wirral case found it compelling, other adjudicators have seen differently.

Parking ticket issued by CCTV (note the 2nd part can be used for any type of ticket issued by CCTV)

Dear Sir / Madam,

1.  I wish to appeal the above PCN issued by CCTV on the following grounds:

The1. Section 48 of the The Secretary of State's Statutory Guidance to Local Authorities on the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions states "The Secretary of State recommends that approved devices are used only where enforcement is difficult or sensitive and CEO enforcement is not practical". Section 87 of the Traffic Management Act states that local authorities must give regard to this guidance. xx Road does not fall under this description.
2. The IOC CCTV code of conduct states that warning signs should be placed where CCTV is in use. No such signs were in place in the location where this PCN was issued therefore it is invalid. This has been confirmed at Adjudicator by the case of Rachel Johnson v Wirral, copy of press article included. Quote form the code of conduct:


Signs should:

  • be clearly visible and readable;

  • contain details of the organisation operating the system, the purpose for using CCTV and who to contact about the scheme (where these things are not obvious to those being monitored); and

  • be an appropriate size depending on context, for example, whether they are viewed by pedestrians or car drivers."

Hence I trust the PCN will be cancelled.

If you reject my appeal please send with your response a copy of the relevant traffic order and proof that the camera in use is an approved device. Please consider this a request under the freedom of information act.

Yours faithfully,

Mr xxxx