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How to appeal a ticket
How to appeal a parking ticket

Should I Appeal a Parking Charge Notice in Northern Ireland?

Janine Marsh Thrifty Family
Janine Marsh Thrifty Family

Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.

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· Jun 10th, 2024
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Parking Charge Notice in Northern Ireland

Did you get a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) in Northern Ireland? This is a guide for you. Each month, over 32,000 people visit our website seeking advice on tickets and fines. 

In this guide, we’ll help you understand:

  •  What a Parking Charge Notice is and why you might get one
  •  How to appeal a PCN and maybe not have to pay it
  •  The cost of a Parking Charge Notice
  •  Who needs to pay a PCN in Northern Ireland
  •  Where to find more help if you need it

We know that getting a PCN can make you feel worried – you might think about how it will affect your money, or you might worry about what might happen if you don’t pay a ticket that you should.

Our team understands how you feel; some of us have been there too. Don’t worry; we’re here to help you find out how to handle your Parking Charge Notice.

Do You Have to Pay?

In some circumstances, you might have a legitimate reason not to pay your 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

In partnership with Just Answer.

How are parking tickets issued in Northern Ireland?

Parking tickets in Northern Ireland are either issued by the local authority or private companies that specialise in managing car parks, which includes the service of deterring car parking abuse. 

The ticket itself might be left on your vehicle windshield or handed to you by an enforcement officer. However, most car parking tickets are now sent in the post to the registered vehicle keeper as per DVLA records. 

Who has to pay a PCN in Northern Ireland?

A Parking Charge Notice should be issued to the person who was driving the vehicle at the time of the alleged car parking contravention. 

However, most car park management companies cannot do this if the incident was spotted on camera. So they send the parking ticket to the registered vehicle keeper for them to pay, which is known as “Keeper Liability”. 

Interestingly, the law in Northern Ireland states that the car parking management business must prove the driver of the vehicle. The onus of proof rests with the car parking management company. 

Do you have to pay a Parking Charge Notice?

You have to pay a Parking Charge Notice if you agree that you are to blame and want to guarantee you aren’t subject to a court claim. The other option is to appeal the Northern Ireland Parking Charge Notice.

Whether you make a payment or appeal, you should take action within the 28-day deadline.

Successful Appeal Case Study


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.

How to pay a Parking Charge Notice Northern Ireland

The payment methods available to you should be listed on the reverse side of your Parking Charge Notice. Most Parking Charge Notices can be paid in the following ways:

  1. Online through the car park management company’s website
  2. Over the phone using an automated payment line
  3. Sending a cheque in the post

When you do go to pay with any of the methods above, you’ll need your vehicle registration number and your Parking Charge Notice reference number. This is so your parking ticket can be identified before you pay. 

It’s important to refrain from paying if you want to appeal. You can’t pay the fine and then appeal because the matter is considered closed as soon as the ticket is paid. 

How to appeal a Northern Ireland Parking Charge Notice

The exact appeals process can differ between car park managing companies. But in general, you’ll be given 28 days to appeal. 

Sometimes there are two types of appeals, namely informal appeals and formal appeals (representations). The informal appeal can be made within the first 14 days and if unsuccessful you’ll get another chance to pay the discounted fine.

The appeal is sent to the car park management company and the company will decide whether there has been a mistake in issuing you the Parking Charge Notice. The appeal might have to be submitted as a written appeal letter, or they might accept an online submission from the company’s website. 

If they agree with your reasoning – and possibly your supporting evidence – they will cancel the private parking ticket. 

But if they disagree with your appeal, they will ask you to pay or tell you how to escalate the appeal to an independent adjudicator. One of the independent adjudicators could be the Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) group. 

In 2020, POPLA published data stating that they got 42% of private parking ticket appeals cancelled in Northern Ireland. This suggests that private parking companies frequently reject appeals when they should be accepted, so it might be worth escalating if you get an initial rejection. 

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

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Best PCN appeal excuses

There is a wide range of excuses that have helped drivers get parking tickets cancelled in Northern Ireland. The best excuse is an honest one that can be backed up with irrefutable supporting evidence, such as photos or video footage. 

However, one of my favourite excuses is quite simple. The law states that you can only be given a parking ticket for overstaying your allotted time if it takes more than five minutes over the deadline to leave the car park. This is called the five-minute rule. 

Considerations when deciding to pay or appeal

Should I pay or appeal my Parking Charge Notice in Northern Ireland? This is one of the biggest questions and it’s not an easy one to answer. You could get help from a road traffic lawyer, but the fee for their help might be bigger than the fine amount. 

The best way to answer this question is to consider the strength of your appeal, which might hinge on the evidence you have as well as the excuse. 

But another consideration is the discounted fine. Some companies will keep the 50% discount on hold if you only make an informal appeal, which will then be withdrawn should you decide to make a representation. 

Only you can answer this question, but remember to be honest when lodging an appeal. 

Speak with the NI Consumer Council for support

For help making the decision on whether to pay or appeal, it’s worth speaking with the Consumer Council, which helps consumers and businesses across Northern Ireland. 

During my research for this blog post, I came across many forum users telling other parking ticket recipients to visit the Consumer Council for support

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.


Get started

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The authors
Janine Marsh Thrifty Family
Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.