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I'm a producer at Century Films, a BAFTA-winning independent production company based in London (

I'm currently developing a new documentary for Channel 4 about parking enforcement in the UK, with a focus on the appeals process. The documentary is at an early stage of development, and I'm hoping to speak to people who are in the process of appealing a PCN via the Traffic Penalty Tribunal for the first time, or have personal experience appealing multiple PCNs.

Please note that this is not a current affairs documentary, so we're not approaching it with any specific agenda/angle - we are simply interested in the stories of the people involved in PCN appeals and their experiences of the system. At this stage we're not looking for anyone to go on camera - I'm just doing some research and would like to hear about your story.

Please PM me if you'd be happy to have a brief chat about your experience of appealing a PCN, or would simply like to find out more about the project.

Kind Regards,

Any particular reason why you're limiting your scope to TPT (which applies to all areas outside London) when in purely numbers terms more appeals are dealt with by the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS) for London? This covers parking, bus, moving traffic and congestion penalties.

Agree with HCA as the majority of tickets by far are from London. But the Brighton ones are a laugh too.

You may even want to stick a camera out of your office window - it'll be like shooting fish...etc
Hi guys,

Thanks for your replies/advice. We've steered away from PATAS so far for a couple of reasons - 1) broadcasters tend to prefer documentaries don't become too London-centric, and 2) I was under the impression that PATAS tends to be a bit more of a fast-turnover process than the TPT, where appellants get more time/more of a chance to argue their case.

But if you think PATAS is interesting I'd happily speak to anyone who is in the process of appealing a PCN or bus lane ticket through them.

I also wanted to emphasise that we're not looking for anyone to go on camera at this stage- I'm simply doing some research and would like to hear your experiences of the system.


Also - MCCRoadster... I just tried to reply to your PM but your inbox is full.

Either empty it a bit and I'll send you a PM or e-mail direct at


Then your start point should be understanding.

For stationary parking offences (which are the majority) the process for disputing a penalty charge starts with the motorist when they receive the PCN on their windscreen. They have 28 days in which to dispute the penalty charge. At this stage this is called an informal representation or challenge.

After the council has (inevitably) rejected the challenge, a Notice to Owner is then served on the owner. A further 28-day period follows during which formal representations may be made. After the council has considered these it will either accept or reject them.

The "appeals" process as such only starts once the council has rejected formal reps.

The owner applies to TPT/PATAS and submits their evidence, as does the council - or does it? Therein lies the real scandal of the process.

Under the "enlightened" scheme of decriminalised or civil parking enforcement (CPE), the council is judge in its own cause and all representations are considered by the same body that has a vested interest in the outcome of its decisions. Only when formal reps have been rejected can the owner take the matter to an independent arbiter. And what miraculous event follows in the wake of councils having their decision making reviewed by another party?

Look at these data for parking appeals from PATAS for the period Jan - June 2010:

You will see that overall 29% of cases submitted were not even heard: the councils "did not contest" them. Call me Mr Cynic if you will, but this means that overall councils had such little faith in their own cases that they didn't bother to contest the appeals. Of course, this is just an average and goes from the City of London which didn't contest 75% of its cases to Enfield which did not contest 4%.

But this is just on the PATAS side of the wall. What about the thousands of motorists who felt, rightly or wrongly, that the whole dispute process was too complex, emotionally draining and potentially stacked against them that they paid up because the council rejected their initial challenge?

My council right or wrong? Well wrong actually in thousands of cases.

There is no regulation of this system at all (don't mistake adjudication for regulation) and neither government has shown any inclination to initiate a review of the system, this despite scathing comments made regularly in their annual reports by the Chief Adjudicators about the system and particularly the behaviour of councils.

Rant over. Hope your research goes well.

Michael Gibson
I would love to get involved with this and show how bent the system can be...

I have had long run ins with adjudicators and can prove that they are wrong but noone will listen!!

If you are sticking to the TPT have a read of Caroline Shepherd's Annual report about what she says are the current shortcomings of the Councils approach.

For example, "dropped kerbs" are a new contravention of which many motorists are unaware. They are specific to certain areas and cannot be signposted like other contraventions. So a lot more people are being caught. (Her annual report explains the legal technicalities.) The 2004 Act was all about network management i.e. keeping the traffic flowing, but what have dropped kerbs to do with network management?

Tickets are just a form of tax on (mainly) human error and as the government said today, you can't tax your way out of a problem - in this case error. This leads many of us to conclude its ALL about tax and more contraventions will be added to ensure maximum revenues.

Why not make Caroline the starting point. Whatever we think of her position, she does highlight and tries to erase the worst excesses of local authorities cynical exploitation of human frailties. In effect, she will have far more insight to the workings of the system.

We're only tax-advisors.

justin_ukationlog land
It's my first time appealing a PCN. The thing that strikes me most about this whole debacle is that at some point the powers that be have been allowed to introduce what seems to me to be a legalised racket. By this I mean the authorities have created a situation out of legislation that makes any defense more costly than the charge involved and little chance of the authority being exposed to paying costs. Many people would pay these PCN's because they don't have the time or can't justify the time to deal with defending against them.

The Appellant is also informed that "Costs are seldom awarded and the sums involved are modest", source: TPT form.

I think it's far to easy for these PCN's to be issued on a blanket basis with the advances in technology and am sure if these cases had to be proved in a court of law that the volume issued would be far less, especially as I would imagine that would involve costs being awarded for false accusations.

The way things are at the moment are not right in my opinion because one should be innocent until proven guilty and the Appellant is having to prove innocence prior to a case being presented to show otherwise. So the Appellant suffers the cost of putting forward a defense in terms of time which the authorities can choose to drop but the Appellant has already suffered the cost of dealing with matters by then.

Also having previously taken issue with the authorities lack of road maintenance regarding pot holes I note that when the 'shoe is on the other foot' that the authorities can use another piece of legislation to take 3 months before deciding not to defend themselves and pay up.

It is no wonder why bad feeling is running high in this country at the moment, not to mention the sums of money wasted employing people processing this whole debacle at a time when we are told there is not enough money for certain things. This is a stealth tax on motorists, plain and simple.

You should take a look at the issue introduced in Coventry where thousands of PCN's are being issued to motorists using a poorly signed bus lane, where £200'000 was invested in a camera enforcement scheme which is raking in thousands more than expected. Call me a cynic but for some reason the bus lane in question is less well signed than those that aren't covered by camera enforcement.

plenty pf protective decisions come from adjudications and with increasing frequency of late.
check out "the Redbridge Scandal".
As an administrative tribunal part of the ambit is to control the misuse/abuse of powers - thats what administrative law isfor - but the I don't recall seeing the adjudicators tackle any of the serious issues. and I have seen a lot of cases pass through both on here and off-board.
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