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Civil Enforcement PCN – Pay or Appeal? 2022 Laws

civil enforcement pcn

For free and impartial money advice and guidance, visit MoneyHelper, to help you make the most of your money.

Were you given a Civil Enforcement PCN (Parking Charge Notice) and asked should you pay or appeal the fine? You’re not alone. Motorists throughout the UK ask whether a Parking Charge Notice is enforceable or not. Unfortunately, they are. But only when there’s a court order saying you must settle the fine!

In my post on Civil Enforcement parking fines, I look at how the operator must follow the Code of Practice. Being accredited members of the British Parking Association (BPA), they are obliged to follow the guidelines. However, you have the right to challenge the fine when an operator does not. Read on to find out more on whether you should pay or appeal a Civil Enforcement PCN.

Do You Have to Pay?

In many circumstances parking tickets are not enforceable.

It’s a bit sneaky, but last time I had a parking fine, I paid £5 for a trial to chat to an online solicitor.

Not only did I save £50 on solicitor fees, I also won my case and didn’t have to pay my £271 fine.

You can try it out now, just remember to cancel the trial once you’ve got your answer.

What is classed as a private car park?

A private car park is on land managed by a private operator or landowner. They can be located at retail parks, train stations, universities, healthcare facilities, private residential sites, and commercial properties.

Are parking tickets enforceable on private land?

In 2015, the UK Supreme Court ruled that Parking Charge Notices are legal and that appeals must be lodged within 28 days of the PCN being given by an operator. As such, you could receive a Parking Charge Notice if an operator thinks you did not obey their ‘rules’.

You could receive a ticket for a minor parking infraction, leading to many disputes. Although a Parking Charge Notice looks like an official Penalty Charge Notice, they are not the same.

A Penalty Charge Notice falls under UK legislation and can be given by Councils and the Police. A Parking Charge Notice is an invoice raised by a private landowner or operator because you breached a contract. It is a civil matter between you and a private parking operator.

The operator must start legal proceedings against you if you choose to ignore a PCN, refuse to pay, or don’t appeal the Parking Charge Notice. On occasion, it doesn’t make economic sense for an operator to take you to court because of the costs. But this is not always the case!

Note: Receiving a Parking Charge Notice is not a criminal offence.

I suggest you either appeal the fine or pay it within the deadline to avoid further problems. Plus, making an informal appeal is free, and it’s something you must do when you want to take the matter further. For example, if you’re going to take the case up with an Independent Appeals Service (IAS).

What is the purpose of a penalty charge notice?

A Parking Charge Notice aims to fine motorists for not following regulations in a private car park. You can pay the fine, challenge it by filing an appeal, or contest it by defending an operator’s claim from payment.

Civil Enforcement could issue you with a fine because you:

  • Didn’t pay
  • Overstayed the time allowed
  • Left your vehicle in the wrong bay (one that’s for the disabled or families with children)
  • Didn’t park correctly

There must be signs entering the car park that indicate how it must be used. In short, the Terms and Conditions for using the car park must be clearly visible. When they are not, you can’t break the rules, and therefore a Parking Charge Notice should not be given.

Appealing a Parking Charge Notice 

Civil Enforcement is a BPA member and must abide by the Code of Practice. This allows you to file an appeal against a Parking Charge Notice if the following applies:

  • The fine was sent to you over 14 days after you used the private car park
  • Your car was parked correctly
  • Car park signs and road markings were not visible
  • The fine you got was over £100
  • You couldn’t get back to your car in time for a good reason
  • You weren’t the driver at the time the ticket was given
  • The operator failed to provide you with the mandatory 10-minute grace period before issuing you the fine
  • You got the fine in the post, but no signs saying there was CCTV or ANPR in operation were in the car park

The operator claims to correspond to all appeals they receive within 14 days!

What is a 10-mins grace period?

According to the Code of Practice, all accredited private operators must allow you a 10-minute grace period when you return to your car. You can appeal the fine when you get a ticket and are not given this mandatory grace period!

First, get in touch with the operator and request they launch an investigation. If they find you are right, they should cancel the Parking Charge Notice. However, if they reject your appeal, you can file one with an Independent Appeals Service.

How do I appeal a Civil Enforcement PCN?

It’s your right to challenge a Civil Enforcement PCN when you think the fine is unfair or because they failed to abide by the Code of Practice. You can appeal their Parking Charge Notice online, and they claim to respond within 14 days.

Note: The fine amount does not go up while the operator reviews your appeal!

If your appeal is rejected, you can always file an appeal with an Independent Appeals Service (IAS). 

Can I get CCJ for an unpaid private parking ticket?

You could get a CCJ if you fail to pay the Parking Charge Notice when a court has ruled you must pay it! I recommend you don’t let things get this far. Never ignore any correspondence you get from the courts. A County Court Judgement would ruin your credit history, making it hard to borrow money in the future.

Do You Have to Pay?

In many circumstances parking tickets are not enforceable.

It’s a bit sneaky, but last time I had a parking fine, I paid £5 for a trial to chat to an online solicitor.

Not only did I save £50 on solicitor fees, I also won my case and didn’t have to pay my £271 fine.

You can try it out now, just remember to cancel the trial once you’ve got your answer.

Civil Enforcement PCN – should you pay or appeal?

You could file an appeal against a Civil Enforcement PCN when you know you didn’t break any rules. It is free to make an informal appeal against the operator, which you must do before you can contact an Independent Appeals Service!

Note: When you file an appeal against a Parking Charge Notice, it prevents an operator from starting legal proceedings. That is until the appeal is resolved.

Thanks for reading my post on Civil Enforcement PCNs and whether you pay or appeal the fine. I hope the info I’ve provided helps you decide whether the fine is worth challenging.

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