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Fighting Parking Tickets in Court: How Do I Pay?

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 11 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
Parking Tickets Pay Fines Court Fees

Parking tickets are expensive. Every aspect of the experience can cost money – from the initial fine to the process of fighting it.

Many people simply choose to pay up within the discount period and be done with it – particularly if they are unsure whether or not they have grounds for appeal. But many others choose instead to fight the ticket through the courts.

Unfortunately, access to the justice system can be expensive – and it is important to understand the potential costs associated with fighting fines in court.

Can I fight a parking ticket in court?

There is a variety of different types of parking fine or ticket, all of which might be issued by different bodies. There are different rules governing each of these types of tickets and fines.

If you want to appeal against a ticket, the means you employ to do this will depend on the type of ticket with which you have been issued. For example, charges levied by a local authority can normally be appealed through the Traffic Penalty Tribunal or the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service. But if you receive a penalty from the police, or if the penalty is for parking on private land, then there will normally be a court process by which you will put your case.

It is important to understand that, while most parking infractions are considered to be civil matters, there are circumstances in which breaking parking rules could be considered criminal. The process for criminal cases can vary.

What fees might I have to pay?

Disagreement is amongst the most common reasons for a parking ticket to end up in court. It is a frequent occurrence, for example, for parking disputes to arrive at a magistrates’ court – indeed, this is the first step in the appeals process in cases where the police are involved.

In these cases, there will not normally be a fee. You simply fill in the relevant part of the penalty notice (part three, which can be found on the reverse), and you will then receive a summons to appear at the magistrates’ court at a specific time.

But it is important to understand that there can be fees associated with fighting a parking ticket in court – particularly if you have been giving the notice by a private body. Despite the existence of a code of practice for private parking operators, anecdotal evidence suggests that many of these organisations are less scrupulous than one might hope.

To begin with, you should note that there is nothing particularly ‘official’ about a penalty charge notice given by a private parking organisation. In essence, these are notices of intent: an indication that the owner of the land intends to take you to court, but that they will waive that action if you pay them a fee.

If you choose to fight these charges in the courts, you may need to be prepared for a longer battle – and you should familiarise yourself with the fees that might be associated with this. There is a range of civil court fees that you might incur during the course of any dispute. For example, a County Court claim relating to possession (rather than a sum of money) will cost you £175. You might also have to pay pre-trial hearing fees. Appeals to the County Court also attract fees of at least £115. While the most common court fees are levied on the claimant, rather than the respondent, there are plenty of circumstances in which you might be required to pay – for example if you lodge a counter-claim, or if you begin your own proceedings to regain possession of a vehicle.

What if I can’t pay them?

It is generally accepted that access to the justice system should not be restricted on grounds of cost. The court system should be available for all – but in reality many people simply cannot pay the often significant fees associated with legal proceedings.

In order to combat this, there is a programme of waivers and discounts in place known as the remissions system. ‘Remissions’ are available to those who are in receipt of certain benefits, and to those whose income is below a certain level. For example, if you are in receipt of income-based JSA you may receive a full discount on the fees. Alternatively, if you are on a low income you may also receive a full waiver. The income limits depend on the number of dependent children you have – but a single person with no children will receive a waiver if their income is less than £13,000.

If you are in any doubt about your rights or responsibilities, you should seek independent legal advice.

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My son works teaches at a further education college and last May he was carrying out student support. This involved visiting students in their place of work to see how they were getting on etc. One of his students was working at a local NHS site and on the day of my son's visit, the staff car park was full so he parked in the patients car park, which is free parking for patients. When he came out, he saw he had been handed a penalty notice, he thinks, by the receptionist's demeanour, she had reported him for not being a patient. Photo evidence showed his car surrounded by empty parking bays, so he was not preventing any patients from parking. He appealed against this notice but he was unsuccessful, he also furnished them with a letter from the staff at the hospital saying that as it was part of the service his college supplies to them, he has permission to park in the patient bays when the staff car park is full. When he ignored this demand, the parking company passed the claim onto a debt collection agency who sent him official looking letters from solicitors in London on very dodgy, cut and pasted letter headed paper. Last month he received another letter threatening him with court action along with a claims form. He contacted the hospital again, who could not believe it was still on going and sent him the contact details for him to use on the online claims form, which he did. A letter arrived today from the courts, he hasn't got in from work yet and I fear for how this will affect him It is making ratherill, type 1 diabetic and his mother is also at her wits end with worry.
chil - 11-May-17 @ 4:20 PM
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