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Private Parking Fines
Private Parking Fines Scotland

Parking Fines Not Enforceable in Scotland?

Scott Nelson MoneyNerd Janine Marsh MoneyNerd
Scott Nelson MoneyNerd

Scott Nelson

Debt Expert

Scott Nelson is a renowned debt expert who supports people in debt with debt management and debt solution resources.

Learn more about Scott
Janine Marsh MoneyNerd

Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.

Learn more about Janine
· May 26th, 2024
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Parking Fines Not Enforceable in Scotland

Have you received a parking charge notice in Scotland and feel unsure about what to do next? This article aims to offer clear, easy guidance. 

Every month, over 130,000 people visit our website for advice on dealing with fines and parking tickets. So, you’re in good company.

We’re here to help you figure out:

  •  The difference between a parking charge notice and a parking ticket
  •  The reasons why people get parking fines
  •  If parking charge notices can be forced in Scotland
  •  How to challenge a private parking fine
  •  What happens if your appeal is rejected

Research shows that over 19,000 parking fines are issued each day in the UK.1

We understand it can be very annoying to get a private parking fine, especially when you’re not sure if it’s fair. We’re here to assist you in understanding your options and deciding what steps to take next.

Why do people get parking fines?

There are several reasons why you’d get a parking ticket whether in a private car park or on public land.

I’ve listed some of them here:

  • The purchased parking time expired.
  • You purchased more parking time once the maximum stay limit had expired and hadn’t moved your vehicle.
  • You parked without paying.
  • You parked in a bay reserved for disabled drivers without displaying a Blue Badge.
  • You left your vehicle in a ‘permits only’ pay without displaying a permit.
  • You parked badly over two bays.

Most Ticket Appeals Succeed

In some circumstances, you might have a legitimate reason not to pay your parking fine.

It’s a bit sneaky, but the last time I needed legal advice, I paid £5 for a trial to chat with an online solicitor called JustAnswer.

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

Chat below to get started with JustAnswer

*According to Martin Lewis, 56% of people who try to appeal their ticket are successful and get the charge overturned, so it’s well worth a try.

Are private parking fines enforceable in scotland?

Yes. Parking fines are enforceable in Scotland, but you have the right to challenge one, whether on private or public land.

I suggest either paying the fine or appealing it. The one thing you should NOT do is ignore the fact you got one. If you decide to appeal the fine, here’s what the usual process looks like.

Process: Steps you should take:
When you receive the ticket… You should gather as much evidence as you can to support your appeal claim and prove that the ticket was unfairly issued.
If you were given the ticket in person/attached to your car… You must make an informal appeal (sent to the local authority/council that issued the PCN) within 14 days. This should be a letter with the evidence proving why the ticket was incorrectly given.
If it was posted to you… You will be given 21 days to submit an informal appeal (from the day you received the letter). Your informal appeal should be a letter with the evidence proving why the ticket was incorrectly given.
If the informal appeal is rejected… You will receive a Notice to Owner and will have 28 days to respond to this with a formal appeal. You can conduct the formal appeal online or via paper form. The Traffic Penalty Tribunal can send you one of these forms.
If the formal appeal is rejected… You will receive a Notice of Rejection. From here, you are free to challenge the council’s verdict at an independent tribunal.
If the independent tribunal disagrees with your appeal… You should pay the ticket within 28 days of the tribunal rejecting your appeal. If you don’t, the fine will be increased by 50%.
If you don’t have the money to pay the fine, you should contact Citizens Advice or another debt charity.

Can parking fines be enforced in Scotland?

When you feel a parking charge is unfair or wrong, you can challenge it.

However, things could get expensive if the operator rejects the appeal and you lose a follow-up appeal with an independent appeals service.

An operator could give your details to a debt collection agency.

Debt recovery for unpaid parking fines in Scotland could lead to motorists being chased by debt collectors.

Moreover, they could start legal proceedings. When a parking charge is correctly constituted, it’s a binding contract.

Parking fines on private land are a civil matter

When you park on private land, you enter into a contract with the landowner/operator.

You’ll have to pay if a judge rules in favour of a parking management company.

You’ll have lost the chance to pay the lower amount. But having appealed the parking charge, you’ll have gained some time.

In short, when you appeal, the operator cannot take the matter further. Only when a decision is made can an operator commence legal proceedings.

Successful Appeal Case Study


Initial Fine £100
Additional Fees £171
Total Fine £271

The Appeal Process

Scott used JustAnswer, online legal service to enhance his appeal. The trial of this cost him just £5.

Total Fine £271
Cost of legal advice £5

JustAnswer helped Scott craft the best appeal possible and he was able to win his case.

Scott’s fine was cancelled and he only paid £5 for the legal help.

Get legal help

In partnership with Just Answer.

Can I challenge a private parking offence in Scotland?

Your chances of winning an appeal are slim if the landowner or operator issued the parking charge correctly and followed the Code of Practice and you committed a parking offence on private land.

First, I suggest you do the following:

  • Check to see whether the landowner/operator is accredited and part of the Authorised Operators Scheme
  • Go to the operator’s website. They should have a page dedicated to filing an appeal
  • Have a look at the operator’s trade body’s independent appeals service

Guidance on parking signs

Understanding parking signage in Scotland is important whether you park on private or public land.

When you park on private land which includes hospitals, retail parks and supermarkets, you enter into a contract with an operator.

Scottish parking infringement penalties on private land fall under contract or trespass laws.

There should be a principal sign displayed at a car park’s entrance which clearly states the T&Cs of using the car park.

This could include:

  • Time limits on how long you can stay
  • Details of any charges and free period
  • Information on the penalties for not complying with the T&Cs

When a private parking operator is a member of an Accredited Trade Association (ATA), they must follow a Code of Practice.

In short, the guidance expects private operators to adhere to the following:

  • Size of signs
  • Placement of signs
  • Content provided on signs

When you park on public land, local authorities manage car parks and parking spaces.

Councils are regulated by UK law

and should display a principal sign placed close to a car park entrance.

The sign should display time limits for parking, whether there are any charges or free periods to park.

There should also be information on the type of penalties motorists should expect for not following parking regulations.

What if my appeal is rejected?

The operator sends you a letter of rejection within 56 days.

The letter should contain information on how to take the matter to an independent appeals service.

This could be POPLA or the IAS, depending on whether the operator is a BPA member or with the IPC.

Note: You must appeal the parking charge with the operator before filing one with an independent appeals service.

What is the best excuse to appeal a parking ticket?

It’s your right to appeal a parking charge when you think it’s wrong or unfair.

Parking ticket appeals in Scotland are similar to those elsewhere in the country.

You could appeal the ticket because:

  • You followed the rules and parked correctly
  • The car park signs and road markings were unclear
  • The ticket machines were out of order
  • The cost of the parking charge was prohibitive
  • You were not the driver when the ticket was issued
  • You had good reason for not getting back to the car park in time
  • Your car broke down
  • You weren’t given the 10-minute grace period

Getting the support of a Solicitor can take a huge weight off your mind.

Get started

Reviews shown are for JustAnswer.

Can DVLA give my details to private parking companies?

Yes, they can. Provided private parking operators in Scotland are members of the British Parking Association (BPA) or the International Parking Association (IPC).

They would therefore be part of the Approved Operator Scheme (AOS).

However, the operator must pay a fee when they want to retrieve the information from the DVLA.

Private operators who manage car parks for landowners use Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR). They also have parking attendants in some car parks. 

The ANPR automatically registers your car registration number when you enter or leave a car park.

In addition, a parking attendant takes photos of your number plate when they issue a parking charge.

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

Can I ignore a private parking ticket?

You should never ignore a parking fine, whether you got it on private or public land.

A judge can order you to pay a parking charge if the operator wins a court case.

However, if you get a Penalty Charge Notice, the fine is backed up by UK law. So if you want to make a ‘representation‘ to the authority that issued the fine, you can.

But, paying the fine within 14 days means paying a lesser amount.

What happens if you don’t pay?

You’ll receive a ‘Notice to Owner’ asking you to pay or appeal the parking fine.

If you ignore the correspondence, you’ll receive a ‘charge certificate‘, and the amount goes up by 50%.

Can I go to court for a private parking fine in Scotland?

A private operator could start court proceedings against you for an unpaid parking charge.

You can be forced to pay by Sheriff Officers who would:

What happens if a parking company takes me to court?

There are two scenarios in court cases for parking fines in Scotland.

  • You could be ordered by a judge to pay the fine which will include more charges
  • The court could rule in your favour and instruct the operator to cancel the fine

You’d need to provide solid evidence as to why the parking ticket should be cancelled.

Otherwise, you stand a good chance of losing your appeal against the Parking Charge Notice.

Will the parking charge damage my credit score?

If you are served a Court Decree and you don’t pay within 30 days, the unpaid debt is registered on your credit history.

Note: This will impact your ability to borrow money further down the line.

Hire a Parking Solicitor for less than a coffee.

If you’re thinking about appealing your parking ticket then getting some professional advice is a good idea.

Getting the support of a Solicitor can make your appeal much more likely to win.

For a £5 trial, Solicitors from JustAnswer can look at your case and help you create an airtight appeal.

Try it below

Get started

In partnership with Just Answer.


  1. Sky News — Parking Tickets Statistics
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The authors
Scott Nelson MoneyNerd
Scott Nelson is a renowned debt expert who supports people in debt with debt management and debt solution resources.
Janine Marsh MoneyNerd
Appeals Expert
Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.