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What is the 5 Minute Parking Ticket Rule in the UK?

Scott Nelson MoneyNerd Janine Marsh MoneyNerd
By
Scott
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
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
· Mar 18th, 2024
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Parking Ticket 5 Minute Rule

Have you got a private parking fine and are scratching your head about the ‘ 5-minute rule’?

You’ve found the right spot to get your answers. Every month, our website is visited by over 130,000 people who are seeking advice on fines and parking tickets.

In this easy-to-follow article, we’ll unpack:

  •  The mystery behind the ‘5-minute rule’.
  •  Whether or not you should pay your parking fine.
  •  How you can make an appeal against a parking ticket overstay.
  •  The best way to dodge fines, including the 10-minute grace period parking law.

The DVLA report that over 11 million parking tickets were issued last year, which is up by 29% year on year!1. So, you’re not on your own in this.

We know how concerning a private parking fine can be. But don’t worry; we’re here to guide you through the parking ticket rules in the UK for 2023.

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.

What is the 5-minute rule?

The RAC found that the number of parking tickets being issued is up by nearly 30%! The report also found that misleading and deliberately confusing signage in private car parks is part of the problem.2

So, as you can imagine, issuing parking fines in the UK is big business.

New laws were introduced to not only protect drivers and businesses, but also to promote fairness.

For example, it includes the ‘grace period’ 3 afforded to motorists when they return to their vehicles.

Although many people know this as the 5-minute rule, it is, in fact, a 10-minute grace period which is part of the parking regulations in the UK.

We were recently featured in The Sun to help educate people around the 10 minute grace period 4. This means you can’t be fined if you overstayed by 10 minutes or less.

The Government introduced the rule in 2015. Since its introduction, motorists have successfully avoided paying the fine when tickets were issued before the grace period was up.

When does the grace period apply?

The grace period applies to on-street parking, council car parks, and privately run car parks where an operator is signed up for the Approved Operator Scheme.

The differences between on-street and off-street parking are worth noting.

This includes private land owned by:

  • Supermarkets
  • Shopping centres
  • Healthcare facilities
  • And more

You won’t be given a grace period when you return to your car if:

  • You park illegally or incorrectly
  • You didn’t buy a ticket

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

Do traffic wardens have to give you 5 minutes?

Not necessarily.

There’s no grace period when you park a vehicle on:

  • Zig-zag lines
  • Double yellow lines (unless you’re unloading something)
  • Red Zones
  • Restricted types of parking zones

Successful Appeal Case Study

Situation

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 started

In partnership with Just Answer.

Avoiding fines – best practices 10 minutes grace period parking law

We’ve included some tips on how to avoid getting a parking ticket here:

  • Think about using a parking reminder mobile app
  • Read all signage carefully before leaving your vehicle
  • Set an alarm on your smartphone reminding you to get back to your vehicle on time
  • Keep receipts to prove you paid to park
  • Park your vehicle correctly
  • Display a ticket correctly as required
  • Make sure you enter your vehicle registration carefully in a payment machine

Do you have to get a physical parking ticket?

No. A parking ticket could be sent through the mail.

You may not know you got a fine until a ticket arrives by post. This must be within 14 days of the alleged parking offence.

Note: You have longer to pay the discounted penalty when you get a ticket through the post. It’s 14 days for one left on your windscreen, but 21 days when sent through the mail.

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

Get started

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Can you appeal against a parking ticket overstay?

You can contest the fine when a parking ticket is issued for just a few minutes overstay.

It’s your right to make a parking ticket dispute to have a fine cancelled.

We suggest you do the following:

  • Hold on to your parking ticket so that you have proof when you receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) or a Parking Charge Notice in the post. It’ll show whether you were given a grace period before the charge was issued
  • If you leave your vehicle in a private car park, the grace period might not apply. Only those signed up to an Approved Operator Scheme offer motorists a grace period when they get back to their cars

Even when given a grace period, you could still contest the charge if you think it’s unfair. The same applies if any mitigating circumstances include your car breaking down.

See the message posted on a popular forum by a motorist who was issued a ticket 2 minutes after the fee they paid had expired.

Source: Moneysavingexpert

Appeal Process Steps

We’ve created this table to help you better understand the appeal process. If you want to learn more about the steps you should take or require further advice, don’t forget to read our complete guide.

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.

What if your appeal is rejected?

You can escalate the matter when an issuer rejects your appeal against a Parking Charge Notice.

How to do this should be provided in the notice of rejection you receive. If the issuer is a BPA member, you can appeal to the Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA).

If the issuer is an IPC member, you file an appeal to the Independent Appeals Service (IAS).

The procedure is different for Penalty Charge Notices issued by authorities. In this instance, you must appeal to an independent tribunal.

The rights of the motorist must be respected by issuing authorities, private operators and independent appeal services.

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.

References

  1. RAC Foundation — Parking Tickets Statistics
  2. RAC — Parking Tickets
  3. The AA — Parking Grace Period
  4. The Sun — Grace Period Rule
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The authors
Scott Nelson MoneyNerd
Author
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.