|Frequently Asked Questions
If I return to my car whilst the ticket is being
issued but drive off before it can be either handed to me
or fixed to the vehicle am I still liable?
This depends on who it is issuing the ticket.
If it is a council parking attendant then, to
be valid, the ticket must be either handed to the driver
or fixed to the vehicle. If you subsequently get a Notice
to Owner you should write to the issuing council, explaining
the situation, and ask for it to be cancelled. If they will
not cancel it then appeal. Although the adjudication services
do not categorise types of appeal anecdotal evidence suggests
that between a third and a half of all appeals are for this
However, if you return to find a police officer
or traffic warden in the process of issuing a ticket then,
if you drive off, the ticket can be sent to you as they enforce
under different legislation.
Aren't traffic wardens supposed to give 'a few
minutes grace' before issuing a ticket?
Contrary to popular misconception, you are not
- and never have been - permitted to stop for 'a few minutes'
other than to set down or pick up passengers or load and unload
goods (in the absence of any loading restrictions). A traffic
warden or parking attendant may observe a vehicle for a few
minutes to see if any such activity is going on before issuing
a parking ticket, but there is an increasing trend to issue
the ticket as soon as an illegally parked vehicle is seen.
If you have been loading or unloading it is incumbent on the
driver to produce evidence to that effect. (See Loading &
Unloading.) There is no grace period.
Can single yellow lines apply after 6.30pm or
Yes! Single yellow lines can apply for anything
between one and 23 hours per day and also on Sundays. Double
yellow lines always mean 'at any time' and the need to have
an accompanying sign was dropped in April 2003. Single yellow
lines now apply for any restriction that is less than 'at
any time' and it is essential that you check the signs. If
the sign does not mention days of operation it means that
the restriction applies seven days a week.
Do waiting restrictions (yellow lines) apply on
There is a motoring myth that Bank Holidays are
the same as Sundays and that waiting restrictions do not apply.
If the sign says 'Mondays - Saturdays' then that includes
Bank Holiday Mondays. For Bank Holidays to be exempt the sign
would also have to include 'Except Bank Holidays'
To avoid having to pay a ticket at the full price
is it advisable to send a cheque for the discounted price
with a challenge in case it is unsuccessful?
If you send a cheque with your challenge to the
validity of a ticket it is almost certain that the council
will bank the cheque and close the case. It is standard practice
for councils to 'stop the clock' whilst they consider an initial
representation. If they reject it they will almost invariably
give you the opportunity to pay at the reduced rate provided
that you do so within 14 days of their notification.
Are yellow lines legal if they don't have a T-bar
(as above) where they end?
In accordance with the traffic engineer's bible
- Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions - yellow
lines must have a T-bar where they terminate or change from
double to single or vice versa. If the T-bar is missing then
the line is not legal and, therefore, not enforceable. T-bars
are not required where a yellow line meets a parking bay or
zebra crossing as bays and crossings effectively sit on top
of the yellow line.
What happens if one arrives at a parking meter
without change? Is time allowed to get some?
No! The regulations require that you put the
money into the parking meter immediately after leaving your
What happens if one sticks a pay-and-display ticket
on the windscreen and it falls, face down, on the dashboard
before returning to the vehicle?
You will get a parking ticket! You are under
an obligation to both "pay" and "display" - far safer to place
the ticket, face up, on the dash board.
If I go to appeal and win can I claim costs?
Adjudicators can award costs to appellants or
councils if either party acts "frivolously, vexaciously or
wholly unreasonably". The award of costs is the exception
rather than the rule. However, you should ask the adjudicator
for costs if you think you have grounds
The question of the awarding of costs is addressed
in Regulation 12 of The Road Traffic (Parking Adjudicators)
(London) Regulations 1993.
“12. (1) The adjudicator shall not normally
make an order awarding costs and expenses, but may, subject
to paragraph (2) make such an order -
(a) against a party (including an appellant
who has withdrawn his appeal or a local authority that has
consented to an appeal being allowed) if he is of the opinion
that that party has acted frivolously or vexatiously or that
his conduct in making, pursuing or resisting an appeal was
wholly unreasonable; or
(b) against the local authority, where it considers
that the disputed decision was wholly unreasonable.
(2) An order shall not be made under paragraph
(1) against a party unless that party has been given an opportunity
of making representations against the making of the order.
(3) An order under paragraph (1) shall require
the party against whom it is made to pay the other party a
specified sum in respect of the costs and expenses incurred
by that other party in connection with the proceedings.”
The crucial points are the interpretation of
the words ‘frivolously’, ‘vexatiously’ and ‘wholly unreasonably.’
According to my Thesaurus synonyms for ‘frivolous’ include:-
trivial, petty, trifling and unimportant. ‘Vexatious’ - troublesome,
distressing, grievous, harsh. ‘Unreasonable’- inadequate,
unfair, unjust, intolerable.
It would appear to me to be ‘wholly unreasonable’
if a council refused to cancel a PCN on a point of fact. For
example, where evidence had been provided of loading/unloading
taking place or where signs were either missing or inadequate.
What should you do if a Notice to Owner (NtO)
arrives for a parking ticket that you didn't know had been
If you know that you had been illegally parked
and the NtO arrived within a couple of months then I would
recommend that you:-
i) respond admitting you were there at the time
ii) say that, had you received the ticket you
would immediately have paid it at the reduced rate and that,
in fairness the authority should give you the opportunity
to pay it at the reduced rate.
iii) enclose a cheque for payment at the reduced
Although there is no guarantee that this will
be accepted, human nature being what it is, most councils
would rather have the reduced amount without any further argument
than have the hassle of trying to get the other half from
If several months have elapsed it is unreasonable
for you to be expected to remember where you were at the time
in question. Here I would recommend that you write back saying
that you did not receive a parking ticket and that it is unreasonable
for the council to pursue the matter.
Councils have a duty to act 'fairly'. It is generally
accepted that an NtO should be sent no later than six months
from the issue of the parking ticket. But even if it's three
or four months it might be worth giving it a try.
I would be pleased to hear of anyone's success
in getting either councils to drop cases, in such instances,
less than six months after the date of the issue of the parking
ticket, or adjudicators to uphold appeals against them.
Is it true that a parking ticket is not valid
if it is issued by a parking attendant not wearing a hat?
The Department for Transport guidance circular
1/95 says “…when carrying out prescribed functions, and issuing
a PCN is one such, [parking attendants] are subject to the
Parking Attendants (Wearing of Uniforms) (London) regulations
The National Parking Adjudication Service says
that, in view of circular 1/95 PAs should wear hats during
enforcement activity, but goes on to say that a PA not wearing
headgear would not in itself be grounds for an appeal but
could be considered as part of an appeal. The adjudicator
would have to give it the importance he thought relevant to
If colour of the vehicle is incorrectly recorded
on a parking ticket is it valid?
PAs are required to make a note of a number
of things, including the colour of the vehicle, all of which
must be correctly recorded for the ticket to be valid. If
the PA recorded that the vehicle as being white when, in fact,
it was black there could be little argument that the information
was incorrect and the ticket, therefore, invalid.
However, when does grey become silver become
white? Or green become turquoise become blue? If such instances
were taken to appeal an adjudicator may take the view that
the colour was accurate enough for the ticket to be valid.
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