Do Parking Fines Expire in the UK?

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Janine Marsh
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Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

My name’s Janine, and I’m a mum of two who’s always been passionate about trying to cut down spending costs. I am now sharing as much financial knowledge as I possibly can to help your money go that little bit further.

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Updated 12 November 2023
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Parking Fines

Do parking fines expire UK? It’s something motorists ask when a parking charge notice unexpectedly arrives in the post. 

Want to know how long a private operator could chase you for payment? Then this post is for you!

How to appeal and win

If you want to avoid paying a parking ticket then you’ll need an airtight appeal.

The best way to perfect your appeal is getting a little advice from a Solicitor. I’d 100% recommend spending a fiver to get a trial of JustAnswer.

You can explain your situation in their chat and they’ll connect you with a Solicitor who can advise you and give you the best chance to win your appeal. For £5 it’s actually amazing value.

Click here to get the trial offer with JustAnswer.

Is a parking ticket on private land the same as a penalty charge notice?

No. The two are quite different and should not be dealt with in the same way. For example, a parking ticket on private land is an invoice, not a fine. Whereas a penalty charge notice is a fine backed by UK legislation.

Say you got a Tesco parking charge notice, the issuer must take you to a small claims court and win to get you to pay!

Are parking fines enforceable UK?

Parking fines on private land are not immediately enforceable. An issuer cannot lawfully demand you pay until they win a case against you. In short, parking charge notices are only enforceable when there’s a court order for you to pay.

A Penalty Charge Notice, on the other hand, is backed by UK legislation which means the issuer doesn’t need to take you to court!

What happens when you don’t pay a Penalty Charge Notice?

The council or other authority sends you a Charge Certificate when you don’t pay a penalty charge notice within 28 days.

Plus, the fine increases by 50%!

You then have a further 14 days to pay the increased penalty charge.

If you don’t, enforcement agents (bailiffs) could pay you a visit!

Can you beat your ticket?

In many cases tickets aren’t actually enforceable.

It’s a bit sneaky, but you could pay £5 to chat with an online Solicitor.

They’ll give you support in crafting the best appeal possible and give you the best chance of not paying your ticket.

You can try it below. 


What happens when you don’t pay a parking charge notice?

A car park management company chases you for payment when you don’t pay the parking charge within 28 days. You’ll receive payment reminders and demands from the operator. If you continue to ignore their correspondence, the issuer could:

  • Pass your details to a debt collection agency
  • Start legal proceedings to recover the amount through a small claims court

For the parking charge to be enforceable, the issuer must win the case. So, when a court orders you to pay, that’s it. You’ll have to pay the parking charge.

However, it’s worth noting that an issuer may threaten court action without intending to follow through. But it’s a gamble because they might!

Should you ignore a parking fine?

When you ignore a parking fine, things could get expensive. For instance, debt collectors or bailiffs could contact you. You’ll get a CCJ on your credit file making it hard to borrow money, get a mortgage or credit card.

What’s the time limit for parking fines?

Private operators must issue a parking charge notice within 14 days of an alleged parking infringement. But this only applies when the notice includes the ‘Protection of Freedoms Act’ in it.

That said, if the parking ticket is stuck to your windscreen and you don’t respond, things change. For example, the issuer must send you a copy of the charge within 56 days of the alleged infringement.

This only applies to parking charge notices which include the ‘Protection of Freedoms Act’ in them.

When it comes to Penalty Charge Notices, a council or other authority must serve the fines within 28 days of the alleged parking violation. But, if the DVLA is slow to respond to a registered keepers details request, the time limit is extended.

How long can a private operator chase you for payment?

A private operator can chase you for an unpaid parking charge notice for up to 6 years. So, when you ignore the fine, you may find things get expensive and messy.

After six years, the issuer can’t chase you because the unpaid invoice is ‘statute barred’. 

Why? Because an unpaid parking fine falls within statute-barred law! The time limit starts from the date the ‘invoice’ is issued.

Can a private operator harass you for payment?

No. A private car park management company cannot harass you for payment. Neither can a debt collector whether you’ve filed an appeal or not. If you feel you’re being harassed, you should report them to the Local Trading Standards office.

You could also take the matter up with the Ombudsman Services!

private car park management harass you for payment


How do you complain about a private operator?

When you feel a car park management company is acting unfairly, and they are members of a trade association, report them to the trade association. First, find out whether the operator is accredited with:

 The British Parking Association (BPA)
 The International Parking Association (IPC)

Members of the BPA must wait 28 days before they send you a ‘final demand’ for payment! However, IPC members can send out final warnings after 14 days!

Plus, if the operator is a member of the BPA and they breached the code of practice, you may find they also breached ‘consumer protection’ regulations!

How long can a council chase you for payment?

There’s a legal process attached to penalty charge notices issued by a council or other authority. So, for example, you could get a court order to pay within 42 days which leaves you no choice but to pay the fine!

Moreover, the amount increases by 50%.

Is parking a ticket a criminal offence?

No. Getting a parking ticket is not a criminal offence. But you’ll have to pay or appeal a parking ticket from a council. Otherwise, the authority could register an unpaid fine as debt with the court, without a hearing!

Do parking fines expire UK?

It depends on whether you got a parking charge notice or a penalty charge notice. If you get a parking ticket on private land, the fine becomes statute-barred after 6 years! In short, the issuer can no longer chase you for payment after six years.

But if you got a penalty charge notice, the legal process that follows is swift! So, you’ll have no choice but to pay the fine once you get a Charge Notice!

I hope the information in my post answers the question ‘do parking fines expire UK’ and helps you cope with the situation you’re faced with.

Don’t submit your appeal yet.

The best way to beat a ticket is to get professional advice.

For a £5 trial, you can have Solicitors from JustAnswer look at your case and help make your appeal airtight.

The authors
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My name’s Janine, and I’m a mum of two who’s always been passionate about trying to cut down spending costs. I am now sharing as much financial knowledge as I possibly can to help your money go that little bit further.
How to avoid paying
How to avoid paying

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