What is the Parking Ticket 5-Minute Rule 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 Ticket 5-Minute Rule

What is the parking ticket 5-minute rule and do operators and authorities have to respect it? You may not know about this ‘rule’ which could get your parking fine cancelled!

Want to know more about a ‘grace period’? Then check out my post below.

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.

Why is there a 5-minute rule?

Over the years, parking fines have become big business for car park management companies and authorities! Over 8 million tickets were issued by private operators in a single twelve-month period.

As a way to promote a fairer playing field and to protect businesses and motorists, the government introduced new laws. The legislation includes drivers being given a ‘grace period’ of ten minutes before a fine is issued. 

The new law came into effect in 2015 and since then, motorists all over the country have had parking tickets cancelled. All thanks to operators issuing parking tickets before the grace period had expired.

Parking tickets issued before a grace period has ended are deemed unlawful according to the Department of Transport.

However, to benefit from this grace period, you must be correctly and legally parked!

What is a parking grace period?

When you park legally in a designated bay, you must be allowed ten minutes grace before a parking ticket is issued against you.

What is a reasonable grace period?

According to Government guidelines, local councils, other authorities and private operators should be ‘sensitive, fair and proportionate’ when issuing parking fines.

As such, a grace period should be afforded to motorists when returning to their vehicles. Government legislation stipulates that parking fines should not be issued when you get back a few minutes late.

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. 


How do you qualify for a grace period when parking?

You’d qualify for a grace period when you park in a council-run car park, on a high street as well as on sites managed by private operators. That said, a car park management company must be part of the Approved Operator Scheme for the rule to apply!

So, an operator should afford you a ten-minute grace period when you park in the following places and they’re accredited:

  • Shopping centresRetail parks
  • Supermarkets
  • Healthcare centres and facilities
  • Universities

However, when you park incorrectly or unlawfully, you won’t be given a grace period. In short, you’d be fined straight away!

Are you automatically allowed a 10-minute grace period?

No. When you park illegally, say, on double yellow lines or Red Zones, you get a parking ticket straight away. As mentioned, you must be parked correctly in designated bays for a grace period to apply.

parking ticket 5 minute rule

Source: https://www.theaa.com/driving-advice/legal/council-parking-grace-period

Can you appeal a parking fine if you’re just out of time?

Yes. You can appeal a parking ticket when you can prove the fine was issued to you and you were just out of time. For example, if you were just a couple of minutes over the time you paid for, you can challenge the parking ticket.

To appeal a parking ticket, you should keep the parking ticket you purchased as proof that the fine was issued before the grace period was up. Also, check whether the private operator is accredited and part of the Approved Operator Scheme (AOS).

If a car park management company is not signed up to the AOS, the 10-minute grace period may not apply.

How can you check if an operator is accredited?

You can check if an operator is accredited by visiting the BPA and the IPC’s websites. I’ve listed the links here:

British Parking Association – BPA https://www.britishparking.co.uk/bpa-approved-operators
International Parking Community – IPC https://theipc.info/aos-members

Are there any other reasons to appeal a parking ticket?

Yes. There are other reasons why you could appeal a parking ticket other than not being given a grace period.

I’ve listed some excuses often used here:

  • You paid the correct fee and parked legally
  • The signs and road markings in the car park were unclear
  • The payment machines were not working and there was no other way to pay
  • You didn’t own the vehicle when the parking ticket was issued
  • The amount of the parking ticket is prohibitive
  • You were not driving when the parking ticket was issued
  • You had broken down and had to wait for assistance
  • A medical emergency stopped you from returning on time
  • The parking ticket arrived in the post well after 14 days of using the car park

You can’t challenge a parking ticket if you’ve already paid for it. Why? Because once you pay the parking fine, you’ve admitted liability!

Should you ignore a parking ticket?

No. It could be an expensive decision when you ignore a parking fine on private land! First, the issuer sends you reminders and then a demand letter. You may have to deal with a debt collector.

You could face court proceedings if a private operator begins legal action against you.

Plus, when you ignore a Penalty Charge Notice, things escalate and you could end up having to deal with enforcement agents (bailiffs).

What is the parking ticket 5-minute rule in the UK?

The 5-minute rule is really a ten-minute grace period you should be allowed when returning to your vehicle. The issuer shouldn’t issue you with a parking fine until the grace period is up.

When you can show you weren’t given 10 minutes grace, you could argue the parking fine and get it cancelled. However, you must have parked correctly/lawfully in a designated bay to qualify!

I hope the information in this post helps you understand the reasoning behind a 10-minute grace period. Moreover, it helps you argue a case against a parking ticket so it gets cancelled.

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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How to avoid paying

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