Parking Penalty Charge Notice enforcement process

This section explains the enforcement process for a parking Penalty Charge Notice, where the vehicle was not clamped or removed.


Penalty Charge Notice

A Penalty Charge Notice, sometimes called a parking ticket, may be issued:

  1. At the scene by a civil enforcement officer (CEO) by being fixed to the vehicle, or handed to the person appearing to be in charge of it;
  2. By post in the following cases:
    1. Enforcement is by camera; or
    2. The CEO was prevented by someone from serving it at the scene; or
    3. The CEO had begun to prepare a Penalty Charge Notice but the vehicle was driven away before it was finished and issued.

Your next steps:

This depends on whether the Penalty Charge Notice was served at the scene or by post:


Penalty Charge Notice served at the scene:

Your next steps:

Pay the charge

  • Payment details are on the Penalty Charge Notice.
  • If the Penalty Charge Notice was issued at the scene you should pay not later than the last day of the period of 28 days beginning with the date of the notice. If the authority RECEIVES payment within the first 14 days, you only have to pay half the penalty.
  • If you do not pay within 14 days, as outlined above, your right to pay the reduced penalty charge ends.
  • If the authority do not receive payment of the reduced penalty within 14 days, as outlined above, or the full penalty within 28 days, the next stage in the formal process is for the authority to send a Notice to Owner.

or:

Make a challenge against the Penalty Charge Notice

You can write to the enforcement authority challenging the notice and they will consider it.

Please note that this challenge does not extend the 14 day limit for paying the reduced penalty that still applies unless the Enforcement Authority agree to extend the period while they consider the challenge, but you should check with them whether they will do this as they are not required to.


Notice to Owner

If the penalty is not paid within 28 days as outlined above, the enforcement authority may issue a Notice to Owner to the person appearing to them to be the keeper of the vehicle.

The keeper is usually, but not always, liable for the penalty whoever was driving. This is known as keeper liability.

The keeper is presumed to be the person registered as the keeper at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

The Notice to Owner will usually be served by post. The person to whom it has been sent then has 28 days, beginning with the date of service of the notice (ordinarily when it arrived at the address to which it was posted) to:

Pay the penalty charge;

or

Make formal representations to the enforcement authority explaining why they think they should not have to pay the penalty.

If you wish to do this, you must still write back to the enforcement authority at this stage, even if you have made a written challenge (see above) following the issue of the Penalty Charge Notice For the grounds, see the following section - 'Making representations'.

Penalty Charge Notice served by post:

Your next steps:

Pay the penalty charge

  • Payment details are on the Penalty Charge Notice.
  • You should pay not later than the last day of the period of 28 days beginning with the date on which the notice was served – this is ordinarily when the notice arrived at the address to which it was posted.
  • If the authority receives payment within the first 21 days in respect of case 1 above or 14 days in respect of cases 2 & 3 above, both periods beginning with the date of service of the PCN, you only have to pay half the penalty
  • If you do not pay within the applicable period outlined above, your right to pay the reduced penalty ends.

or:

Make formal representations to the enforcement authority

These are representations to the enforcement authority explaining why it is thought that the penalty should not have to be paid and should be made no later than the last day of the period of 28 days beginning with the date on which the notice was served – this is ordinarily when the notice arrived at the address to which it was posted.

For the grounds, see the following section - 'making representations'.


Making representations

You can make representations on any grounds, but the enforcement authority is only obliged to cancel your liability if one of the following grounds is established:

  • The contravention did not occur;
  • You were not the owner of the vehicle at the relevant time;
  • The vehicle was parked by someone in control of it without the owner’s consent;
  • The vehicle is owned by a hire firm who have supplied the name and address of the hirer;
  • The penalty exceeded the amount applicable in the circumstances of the case;
  • There has been a procedural impropriety on the part of the enforcement authority;
  • The Traffic Order allegedly contravened is invalid;
  • The civil enforcement officer was not prevented by some person from fixing the penalty charge notice to the vehicle or handing it to the person in charge of the vehicle.
  • The penalty charge has already been paid.

Read examples of the circumstances in which each ground might apply

If none of these grounds apply, you may still ask the enforcement authority to consider other reasons for cancelling the penalty, such as mitigation. If the enforcement authority accepts that there are sufficient mitigation, it may cancel the Notice to Owner (where the Penalty Charge Notice was served at the scene) or the Penalty Charge Notice (where this was served by post but it does not have to.

When making representations you should:

  • Explain your reasons fully and clearly;
  • Send clear copies of any relevant documents, keeping the originals;
  • Make sure the enforcement authority receives your representations within 28 days. They may consider late representations, but do not have to and are legally entitled to disregard any representations received later than 28 days after service of the NtO (or PCN if served by post).

The enforcement authority considers your representations

The authority must, before the end of 56 days beginning with the date on which they receive representations:

  • Consider representations received in time;
  • Decide whether to accept or reject them;
  • Serve on the person who made the representations:
    • A Notice of Acceptance, if it accepts them; or
    • A Notice of Rejection and a Notice of Appeal form, if it does not accept them

If the authority fail to respond within 56 days, they will be deemed to have accepted the grounds in question

If they have accepted the representations or failed to respond within 56 days, they will cancel the Notice to Owner (where the Penalty Charge Notice was served at the scene) or the Penalty Charge Notice (where this was served by post) and refund any sums paid.


Notice of Acceptance

If you receive a Notice of Acceptance, you will not have to pay the penalty and you need take no further action.


Notice of Rejection

The person to whom a Notice of Rejection has been issued has 28 days, beginning with the date of service of that notice, to:

  • pay the penalty charge; or
  • appeal to the adjudicator. A Notice of Appeal form should be sent by the enforcement authority with the Notice of Rejection. If this form is not enclosed, the authority should be contacted to obtain one. The enforcement authority should also send you a verification code to enable you to appeal on-line if you prefer.

If you miss the 28 time limit your appeal may still be registered by the adjudicator.  When you submit your appeal you must include an explanation for the delay. The adjudicator will then decide whether the appeal should be registered. 

Read more information on how to appeal to the adjudicator

If the penalty charge is not paid or an appeal is not made within the 28 days allowed, the enforcement authority may issue a charge certificate.


Notice of Appeal

This is the form which the enforcement authority should send you their Notice of Rejection. The grounds on which the adjudicator may allow your appeal are the same as for making representations:

  • The contravention did not occur;
  • You were not the owner of the vehicle at the relevant time;
  • The vehicle was parked by someone in control of it without the owner’s consent;
  • The vehicle is owned by a hire firm who have supplied the name and address of the hirer;
  • The penalty exceeded the amount applicable in the circumstances of the case;
  • There has been a procedural impropriety on the part of the enforcement authority;
  • The Traffic Order allegedly contravened is invalid;
  • The civil enforcement officer was not prevented by some person from fixing the penalty charge notice to the vehicle or handing it to the person in charge of the vehicle.
  • The penalty charge has already been paid.

The adjudicator can only allow an appeal if one of these grounds applies. Adjudicators cannot allow appeals for other reasons, e.g. mitigating circumstances, although they can refer the matter back to the enforcement authority for reconsideration if there are compelling reasons for doing so.

Read examples of the circumstances in which each ground might apply

Read more information on how to appeal to the adjudicator


Charge Certificate

This is a notice issued by the enforcement authority increasing the penalty charge by 50%. The enforcement authority may issue a charge certificate where the penalty charge has not been paid and after:

  • A Penalty Charge Notice was served by post or a Notice to Owner has been served and the Authority did not receive representations within 28 days, beginning with the date of service of that notice;
  • A Notice of Rejection has been served and within 28 days, beginning with the date of service of that notice, no appeal to the adjudicator has been made;
  • An appeal has been refused by the adjudicator and no payment has been received by the enforcement authority within 28 days of the date the decision was served; or
  • The appellant has withdrawn their appeal and has not paid the penalty charge to the enforcement authority within 14 days of the date on which the appeal is withdrawn.

Registration of Debt and Order for Recovery

If after 14 days of a charge certificate being served the penalty charge is still not paid, the enforcement authority may register it as a debt at the Traffic Enforcement Centre. The authority may then recover the penalty through the County Court:

  • The County Court, on application from the enforcement authority, will authorise the authority to draw up an Order for Recovery. The authority will serve this order on you, with a Witness Statement form.
  • If the penalty is not then paid, the authority may apply to the court for a Warrant of Execution.

Your next steps

Pay the outstanding charge or lodge a witness statement at the Traffic Enforcement Centre.


Witness Statement

Where an Order for Recovery has been made, liability for the penalty can then only be challenged in the following circumstances:

  • You did not receive the postal Penalty Charge Notice or Notice to Owner in question; or
  • You made representations to the enforcement authority concerned but did not receive a Notice of Rejection from that authority; or
  • You appealed to the adjudicator against the rejection by the enforcement authority of your representations but had no response to the appeal; or
  • The appeal had not been determined by the time the charge certificate was served, or it was determined in your favour; or
  • You had paid the penalty charge.

If, and only if, one of these applies, you may make a witness statement.

The completed witness statement should be returned to the Traffic Enforcement Centre within 21 days beginning with the date of service of the Order for Recovery, although there are provisions for the court to allow longer.

A witness statement may only be made by the person against whom an Order for Recovery has been made.

It is a criminal offence to make a false witness statement.

Next steps

What happens next depends on the grounds for making the witness statement.

  • If the ground is that the Notice to Owner was not received, the Order for Recovery, Charge Certificate and Notice to Owner are cancelled. The enforcement authority may then issue a new Notice to Owner;
  • For any of the other grounds, the enforcement authority must refer the witness statement to the adjudicator who will decide what will happen next.

NOTE: the original Penalty Charge Notice is NOT cancelled.