Parking fine: Drivers urged to avoid ‘admission of liability’ when issued with a ticket

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A legal expert told one thing Britons should not do at any cost if they are hoping to challenge a parking fine. Daniel, The Black Belt Barrister, provides free legal guidance on this YouTube channel where he boasts more than 180,000 subscribers and almost 28million views, and on his Twitter account, @dshensmith. He uses his social media to inform the public about a number of legal issues, including driving laws and offences.

He discussed contesting a motoring fine and told readers one vital piece of advice. Daniel said: “Don’t pay the fine if you are planning to appeal.

“This is almost always taken as an admission of liability.”

So, what should drivers do if they want to contest a parking fine?

Daniel told readers: “First off, there must be a legitimate reason why the fine (or parking charge notice) is unfair, rather than just ‘it’s not fair because I was only 15 minutes over’.”

It is a waste of time to contest a ticket that was issued fairly, no matter how annoying it is.

If a driver has a good reason to contest the ticket it is important to gather evidence to support the claim.

Daniel went on: “Take photos and as much contemporaneous evidence as possible as to why you think the fine is unfair, for example, lines are unclear, signs are secured by trees/bushes/snow/dirt, et cetera.”

There are other documents to keep hold of that might help you, the barrister said.

“Also keep any other documentation including correspondence that might prove you were not the owner of the vehicle at the time, for example, or if the number plate has been cloned, evidence of where you were at the time if not at the place of the alleged offence,” Daniel said.

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What is a parking fine or penalty charge notice (PCN)?

There are various kinds of parking tickets and penalty charge notices you can be issued with.


You can get PCNs for parking in the wrong place, breaking some traffic rules, or not paying the charge for the London congestion zone, low emission zone, or Dartford Crossing (Dart Charge) on time.

They can be given to drivers by local councils, Dart Charge, or Transport for London.

Failure to pay results in a higher fine and an order to appear in court.

Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN)

FPNs are given out by the police, local council, or Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) for parking.

Tickets can also be issued by private companies.

How to contest a parking fine


You should challenge PCNs within 14 days, ideally, as even if rejected you may only have to pay half the fine. You will need to challenge the PCN within 28 days to have any success.

The ticket itself will tell you who issued it, and this is whom to raise the challenge to.

If your first informal challenge is rejected you can raise a formal challenge in 28 days.

If this is rejected and you still feel the fine is unfair, you have 28 days to appeal to an independent tribunal. If the fine was issued in London, appeal to London Tribunals. 

If it was issued outside of London, appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. 


An FPN needs to be challenged at magistrates court. Follow the instructions on the back of the ticket to arrange this.

Tickets from private companies

Contact the issuer of the ticket, details of which you can find on the ticket.

They will tell you how to challenge the ticket. If you are unsuccessful in challenging the company directly, you can appeal to two agencies.

These are POPLA (Parking on Private Land Appeals), if the issuer of your ticket is a member of the British Parking Association (BPA) or IAS (Independent Appeals Service), if the ticket issuer is a member of the International Parking Community (IPC).

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