Are parking fines enforceable in Scotland?

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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 29 November 2023
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Scotland Parking Fines

Do you have to pay parking fines in Scotland? Or can you appeal a parking charge notice? It’s a problem motorists often face. I mean, are fines on private land actually enforceable?

Whether you have to pay a parking fine or challenge it depends on several things, and I cover these in my post!

How to avoid paying Scotland parking tickets

If you want to avoid paying a Scotland 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.

Click here to get the trial offer with JustAnswer.

Why would you get a parking charge notice in Scotland?

First, you may be asking why you’d get a parking charge on private land. Maybe you were in a supermarket, retail park, or visiting someone in a hospital. No matter where you were, an operator probably managed the site for a private landowner.

You’d get a parking ticket on private land when the operator finds you in breach of contract. This is because when you use a privately owned car park, you effectively enter into a contract with the operator.

But, to ‘breach a contract’, first you must be aware of the terms before accepting them!

So, how do you know about the ‘contract’? Operators erect signs at entrances which provide the Terms & Conditions of parking there. If you break the ‘rules’, you’ve broken the ‘contract’!

When signs are faded, missing or hidden by overgrowth, you could challenge the parking fine!

Plus, if you were only made aware of the T&Cs once you entered the car park, there may not be a legal basis for the operator to fine you! In short, signs indicating the Terms & Conditions should be displayed before motorists enter a site!

You can challenge a Parking Charge Notice when you feel it’s unjust. That said, these parking tickets can be enforced through a Court. But only when they are ‘constituted’ correctly because then they’re binding contracts.

Is a parking charge the same as a penalty charge?

No. Parking charges are only enforceable when an operator wins a court case, and you’re ordered to pay.

A penalty charge is an official fine backed by UK legislation and is immediately enforceable by the issuer.

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. 


Could you ignore a parking fine in Scotland?

You could ignore a parking fine in Scotland, but it could be an expensive mistake if you do. For example, a car park management company could chase you for the payment.

If you’re the registered keeper of the vehicle, an accredited operator can access the DVLA database to find your address. In short, the issuer sends payment reminders to your home address. Next, you’ll get payment demands followed by a threat of court action.

Do private companies use debt collectors for unpaid fines?

Yes. A car park management company could use a debt collection agency to recover the amount you owe them. Moreover, a debt collector takes over from the operator. It means they could take you to court over the unpaid fine rather than the issuer!

Should you pay a parking fine in Scotland straight away?

No. First, check whether all the details on the parking fine are correct. Plus, it’s always a good idea to check the following before coughing up any money:

  • Did the operator issue the parking fine correctly?
  • Is the company accredited?
  • Does the fine seem excessive?
  • Were you the registered keeper when the parking charge was issued?
  • Was the parking fine issued before a ‘grace period’ had ended?
  • Did the fine arrive in the post well over two weeks after you’re supposed to have broken the rules?
  • Were there signs indicating there was CCTV or ANPR in the car park? If not, and the fine arrived in the post, you could challenge it!

How do you appeal a parking fine in Scotland?

An accredited car park management company must provide information on how to appeal a fine. The details on how to do this can be found on the parking charge notice you receive.

Most companies have pages dedicated to filing an appeal on their websites. It’s essential to follow the correct process and meet the deadline, usually 28 days.

But you have the option to appeal a parking fine on private land within two weeks which is definitely worth thinking about. Why? Because if the issuer rejects your appeal, you may still get to pay up to 40% less than the original fine!

What excuses are valid when you appeal a parking fine in Scotland?

You should have a valid reason for challenging a parking fine in Scotland. Without a good excuse, the operator will reject your appeal!

So, what reasons for having a parking fine cancelled could be acceptable? I’ve listed a few below:

  • A medical emergency meant you couldn’t return to your vehicle
  • The issuer failed to allow you a grace period before writing up a ticket
  • You paid the correct fee and parked correctly
  • The car didn’t belong to you when the parking fine was issued
  • The operator served the parking charge notice incorrectly
  • You weren’t the driver when the fine was issued
  • Your vehicle was stolen when the parking charge notice was served
  • There was no way for you to pay because the machines were not working
  • You were broken down
  • The road markings and signs in the car park were not clear
  • The amount charged is prohibitive

When would you get a response to a parking fine appeal in Scotland?

Once an issuer receives your appeal, it can typically take up to 35 days to get a response. In short, it takes that long for operators to consider your appeal to have a parking fine cancelled.

Once a decision is made, you’re notified in writing whether your appeal is accepted or rejected!

What happens when a parking fine appeal is rejected?

It’s not quite the end of an appeals road when an operator rejects your challenge to cancel a parking fine. You get a rejection letter within 35 days, which contains details on what to do next.

For example, the letter should explain how to pay the parking ticket and how to escalate the matter to an independent appeals service.

When an operator is part of the British Parking Association (BPA), the appeals service is POPLA. But if the issue is a member of the International Parking Community (IPC), you escalate your appeal to the IAS.

What’s the law when you don’t pay a parking fine in Scotland?

When you don’t pay or appeal a parking fine in Scotland, the issuer could do the following:

  • Serve you with a Charge for Payment
  • Execute an Earnings Arrestment
  • Place an attachment on your vehicle
  • Place an arrestment on your bank account

If you get a Court Decree and don’t pay the parking fine within 30 days, the fine turns into a debt. It will appear on your credit history!

Are parking fines in Scotland enforceable?

Yes. But only if a car park management company correctly issued the parking charge notice and judge orders you to pay!

So, always check the details on the parking fine are correct and that it was served correctly before paying. The one thing to avoid is to ignore a parking fine on private land. The issuer could win a case in court, which would negatively impact your credit history.

I hope the information in my post helps you decide how to deal with a parking fine on private land in Scotland and that it saves you time and money!

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.
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