Take the parking fine challengeFor most motorists, it comes pretty near the top of the list of heart-sinking moments: you walk back to your car and discover a parking ticket on your windscreen. If your luck's really out, your vehicle will have been wheelclamped - or towed away.
But if you feel strongly that you've been unfairly penalised - perhaps the wording on the sign was misleading or there was no sign at all - don't meekly meek
adj. meek·er, meek·est
1. Showing patience and humility; gentle.
2. Easily imposed on; submissive. give in and pay up.
You might be surprised to learn that if you challenge your parking fine, the odds are firmly in your favour. Figures for 2006-07 reveal that in London, more than two-thirds (68%) of the parking ticket appeals that went to the "parking adjudicator ad·ju·di·cate
v. ad·ju·di·cat·ed, ad·ju·di·cat·ing, ad·ju·di·cates
1. To hear and settle (a case) by judicial procedure.
2. " were won by motorists - up from 56% the year before. Outside London, appeals decided in favour of drivers average 57%, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the most recent data.
In the capital, the area where drivers are most likely to win is Westminster, which covers the West End. Of the 15,645 parking ticket appeals heard there during 2006-07, 88% went in favour of the motorist.
Other London boroughs where the driver tends to rule include Hackney Hackney, inner borough (1991 pop. 164,200) of Greater London, SE England, on the Lea River. Clothing manufacture (in Hackney) and printing and furniture making (in Shoreditch) are the borough's chief industries. London's first theater was built in Shoreditch (c.1575). (86% success rate for individuals), Barnet Barnet (bär`nət), outer borough (1991 pop. 283,000) of Greater London, SE England. Although mainly residential, manufactures there include automobile and aircraft parts, electrical components, and beverages. (85%) and Southwark (84%).
Away from the capital, Harlow and Braintree in Essex, Maidstone in Kent, St Albans
This month's issue of Which? magazine claims some councils are rejecting far too many challenges. It says that the number of fines that are overturned indicates it is worth persevering per·se·vere
intr.v. per·se·vered, per·se·ver·ing, per·se·veres
To persist in or remain constant to a purpose, idea, or task in the face of obstacles or discouragement. if the initial challenge is rejected.
"Some councils seem all too ready to give fines, but are far more reluctant when it comes to cancelling those that aren't justified - perhaps with one eye on their income," says editor Neil Fowler. "If you think a ticket is unjustified, it's well worth challenging it."
However, few of us do, despite the fact that you can be fined up to an eye-watering £120. In London, only one in 100 people who receive a ticket appeal to the independent adjudicators. "Many motorists don't bother because they feel that to do so is time-consuming, complicated, expensive and bureaucratic bu·reau·crat
1. An official of a bureaucracy.
2. An official who is rigidly devoted to the details of administrative procedure.
bu , and that they risk higher penalties if their appeal fails," says Barrie Segal, who runs the AppealNow.com website and has been described as the UK's leading parking ticket expert. It could also be because many people wouldn't have the first clue about how to go about challenging their fine. In 2006, a committee of MPs said the process "must be made much more transparent," and that the adjudication The legal process of resolving a dispute. The formal giving or pronouncing of a judgment or decree in a court proceeding; also the judgment or decision given. The entry of a decree by a court in respect to the parties in a case. service needed a higher profile.
The most recent figures show that almost a third of appeals in London were not contested by councils. Westminster did not bother with 44%. A spokesman for London Councils London Councils is the local government association for London, bringing together representatives of the 32 London Boroughs and the Corporation of London. In October 2006 it changed its name from the Association of London Government , the body which represents the city authorities, says there are a number of reasons - for example, it may be that further evidence to the adjudicators was not made available to the authority.
When you get a ticket, you can: pay the fine or challenge it. If you pay within 14 days, the fine is halved halve
tr.v. halved, halv·ing, halves
1. To divide (something) into two equal portions or parts.
2. To lessen or reduce by half: halved the recipe to serve two.
3. . Overturning it is a two-stage process. You must write to the local authority which issued it. State your case clearly and simply, and include any evidence that backs up your version (photographs, witness statements etc). The council will write back, either accepting or rejecting your arguments. If you have written within 14 days of receiving the ticket, and the council rejects your challenge, you should be offered the chance to pay at the discounted rate.
If the council rejects your informal challenge, and you don't pay, you will be sent a "notice to owner" form.
You can then make formal representations. Again, include any relevant evidence. If the council turns you down again, appeal. If the ticket was issued in London, go to the independent parking and traffic appeals service (parkingandtrafficappeals.gov.uk).
If it was issued in another part of England, or Wales Wales, Welsh Cymru, western peninsula and political division (principality) of Great Britain (1991 pop. 2,798,200), 8,016 sq mi (20,761 sq km), west of England; politically united with England since 1536. The capital is Cardiff. , appeal to the national parking adjudication service (parking-appeals.gov.uk). Appeals in Scotland are dealt with by the Scottish parking appeals service (see parking-appeals.gov.uk).
The legal grounds for an appeal include: · The alleged contravention A term of French law meaning an act violative of a law, a treaty, or an agreement made between parties; a breach of law punishable by a fine of fifteen francs or less and by an imprisonment of three days or less. In the U.S. did not occur (eg your vehicle was exempt from the rules because loading or unloading was taking place). · The penalty exceeded the relevant amount (eg, you were asked to pay the wrong amount). · It is not your car.
If you have been clobbered, why not share your tale of woe with other victims? Last month Majicari.com was launched to "champion the rights of motorists who have received unfair parking fines". It was set up by Matt Richardson, 39, who lives in south-west London and decided enough was enough after getting a ticket when he stopped to help a teacher carrying tables at his local school fete. Anyone who has received a ticket can submit a short "story" and, if selected, it appears online for voting. Motorists whose stories receive the most votes from website users will have their parking fines reimbursed, thanks, in part, to site advertising.
Of course there is an easy way to avoid being fined: don't park illegally. Check parking times, park within the bay markings and check your ticket is properly displayed. But, if you do get a ticket, don't ignore it.