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How Long Does the Council Have to Respond to a PCN Appeal?

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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· May 31st, 2024
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PCN Appeal

If you sent an appeal for a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) and haven’t heard back, you might be worrying. Maybe you’re scared your appeal has been rejected, or you’re unsure about when tickets become unenforceable. You’re not alone in this – every month, over 32,000 people come to this site for advice on tickets and fines.

In this article, we’ll help you understand:

  • What a Penalty Charge Notice is.
  • The process to appeal your PCN.
  • How long councils usually take to respond to appeals.
  • What happens if you don’t pay your PCN.
  • Where you can find more help if you need it.

We understand how you feel and we’re here to help. Let’s dive in and learn how to handle your PCN appeal.

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

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How long does a council get to serve a PCN?

There is no time limit for a local authority to issue a Penalty Charge Notice, as confirmed by Citizens Advice. 

You might have heard that a PCN has to be sent within two weeks or something similar, but this isn’t the case for Penalty Charge Notices from a council. 

What is the 28-day rule for a PCN?

You’re given 28 days to pay a Penalty Charge Notice or the council will take further action to recover the money.

How much does a Penalty Charge Notice cost?

The cost of a Penalty Charge Notice differs based on the offence and even specific details of the offence. There is even a differentiation in the fine between locations. 

On average, a Penalty Charge Notice will cost between £60 and £120. But the amount you have to pay is reduced by 50% if you accept the fine and pay within 14 days. So, for just paying quickly, you could save as much as £60 or sometimes more. 

But once you do pay, the matter is closed and you won’t be able to contest the PCN. 

Do you have to pay a Penalty Charge Notice?

You shouldn’t ignore a Penalty Charge Notice, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to pay. The other option is to appeal the Penalty Charge Notice if you have a good reason (and evidence) why the PCN shouldn’t have been served to you. 

The only time you don’t have to pay within 28 days is if you’ve made an appeal within the same timeframe. 

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

If you fail to pay or appeal a Penalty Charge Notice within 28 days, the council will send a charge certificate. This is a notice that your fine has been increased by 50% due to no action being taken. 

For example, if your original Penalty Charge Notice was for £80, it would not be increased by 50% of this original value (£40) to £120. The council will give you a new deadline to pay the increased PCN amount, which is typically seven calendar days. 

If you don’t pay still, the council can get a court order to enforce the debt, including the potential use of bailiffs. This adds more costs and fees to the amount owed and is best avoided. 

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.

Penalty Charge Notice appeals

Penalty Charge Notice appeals can usually be made in two ways, namely:

  1. An informal appeal
  2. A formal appeal called a representation

Some people who receive a Penalty Charge Notice are forced to make an informal appeal first, whereas others are asked to make a representation straight away. Both of these appeals are made to the PCN issuer. 

In either case, you would need to state your reasons why the Penalty Charge Notice should not have been issued against you. Your arguments are always more likely to win the appeal if you can supply evidence. Some examples of evidence people use are:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Receipts
  • Letters
  • Witness statements

There are several excuses that could potentially get you out of a Penalty Charge Notice, including poor or no signage to tell you you shouldn’t have parked without paying. Here is an example where one driver was given a PCN but there were no adequate signs telling him they couldn’t park:

Penalty Charge Notice appeals

Source: https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/comment/78839049#Comment_78839049 

An argument like this might get a PCN overturned, but the forum user’s argument would be stronger with photo evidence of the area’s lacking signage. 

How long does a PCN appeal take?

A Penalty Charge Notice appeal can take up to eight weeks to get a decision from the council. But most councils will respond to the PCN challenge much quicker, often within a week or two. It really depends on the complexity of the incident and the appeal.

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

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How long does a council have to respond to a PCN appeal?

A council has up to 56 days (8 weeks) to respond to a Penalty Charge Notice appeal. During this time, the council cannot ask you to pay the fine. 

If the council fail to respond to your appeal within 56 days, the Penalty Charge Notice cannot be enforced and you won’t have to pay. In other words, you automatically win a PCN appeal when the council doesn’t respond in time. 

It’s quite rare for a council to miss the eight-week deadline, but it’s not completely unheard of. Just make sure you have evidence of the date you submitted the appeal, so this doesn’t become a point of contest later should the council not respond in time. 

Council PCN appeal rejected – another way?

When a council rejects your Penalty Charge Notice appeal you will have the right to escalate the appeal to an independent tribunal for an overruling decision. If you don’t escalate the appeal, you must pay or the fine will be increased by 50% via a charge certificate. 

How long does the council have to respond to a PCN appeal? (Recap!)

The council must respond to your PCN appeal within eight weeks or your appeal is automatically accepted. Keep the evidence that you made your appeal.

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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.

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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.