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Contesting parking tickets in London

April 05, 2006
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Today I finally received the "Your penalty charge notice (PCN) has been canceled" letter from the City of Westminster, London.

This saga has been going on for over 8 months with me posting 9 recorded/signed for letters and the council of City of Westminster around 5.

It all started with a screaming red Charge Certificate stating that it was now too late to appeal to the alleged parking infringement and that I had better pay up.

This meant that the council had failed to notify me first by placing a PCN on my vehicle and second with a Notice To Owner in the mail.

Pretty scandalous way of extorting money from law abiding motorists I thought and started researching my rights in parking disputes.

It was a bit difficult to stay calm so my first letter to the council was a fiery one about extortion, scandals, citizen rights and other silly bits.

The reply was a cold and formal "Thank you for your appeal but it is now too late to appeal". It was obvious that the council would not listen. Instead they were pushing the matter forward to the County Court.

At this point my only option was to hire the services of a solicitor and swear in a Statuary Declaration that I had not received the original Notice To Owner.

I felt like a criminal sitting in a solicitor's office, holding the Bible and swearing the fact but it was true and it had to be done.

Luckily the County Court accepted the statuary declaration and this prevented the scary bailiffs and ultimate debt recovery.

You would have thought that the matter would have been cleared at this point but it only put it back to the original Notice to Owner stage.

The new Notice to Owner was promptly sent a few days later demanding once again the £100 (it was too late to pay the discounted £50 charge) or to appeal.

I vaguely remembered that a penalty for an alleged parking offence cannot take place if the PCN was not presented to the vehicle owner, i.e. it had not been served properly.

One could always throw away the PCN and claim that it was never there. However during the last 2 years I have seen many Traffic Wardens photographing vehicles with attached PCNs and I guess this is the reason why.

Since there had been no PCN on my vehicle I knew there could be no photograph and I was prepared to go to the County Court if required so I appealed selecting the wonderful "The offence did not occur" option.

It came as a total surprise that the council chose to accept my appeal and canceled the PCN but I accepted it wholeheartedly.

Below are some other reasons that can invalidate a PCN that I found while researching (some may be just rumours):

1. The traffic warden must be wearing their uniform and hat (have a disposable camera handy)

2. The PCN must have been attached to your vehicle or handed to you. If you see a traffic warden furiously punching on his ticket machine don't start arguing with him/her, just drive away.

3. A single yellow line must end with a t-bar to be enforceable

4. A sign stating enforcement hours of the yellow line must be close by and visible

5. If the council does not reply within 2 months of receiving your appeal

A very good resource was the National Parking Adjudication Service and I recommend you to study their pages closely.



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Comments

  1. Kristofer Says:

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    Great story. Bureacracy at its best! You should send them all flowers :)

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