Challenge a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)
Our consideration of a written challenge against a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)
Published: 19 January 2021
Last updated: 18 November 2021
We will consider any written challenge submitted against the issue of a penalty charge notice (PCN) up until the issue of a charge certificate.
A PCN will be cancelled upon challenge if:
- we are satisfied that a valid concession or exemption to park applied
- the PCN was issued in error
- if there is strong mitigation for the cancellation of the PCN, such as if the PCN was incurred in circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the motorist
Our consideration of PCN challenges is underpinned by the following consideration 'principles':
Common sense approach
Consideration should be based on logic and common sense.
Merits of the case
The circumstances surrounding a particular PCN are unique and therefore each PCN should be considered on its own merits.
Genuine mistakes, mitigation and discretion
Any PCN can be cancelled if the mitigation put forward by the motorist is deemed strong enough to warrant it.
Each case should be considered objectively. Discretion can be given where it is evident that the motorist made an honest attempt to park legally/correctly, but made a genuine mistake in doing so, incurring the PCN in the process. Or that the PCN was issued in circumstances beyond the motorist's reasonable control.
The enforcement action and any subsequent decision to uphold or cancel the PCN upon challenge should be fair, proportionate, reasonable and justifiable.
Full consideration of evidence and the 'balance of probabilities'
All relevant evidence should be fully considered as appropriate before a decision is made. Unlike criminal law where the standard of proof is 'beyond a reasonable doubt', civil law is based on the 'balance of probabilities'.
Decisions should therefore be based on an evaluation of the weight of the evidence, some of which may be contradictory, and should favour that which is most persuasive or compelling.
Legal and policy framework
All consideration should have regard to legislation, case law and to City Council policy, as well as to any likely adjudicator response.
Both driver and vehicle histories should be checked to see if either has a history of incurring similar PCNs and whether discretionary cancellations have been granted previously.
Consistency of enforcement method
As civil enforcement officers (CEOs) and marshals are able to interact with the driver in a way that a CCTV operator cannot, a consideration should be given as to whether the PCN would have been incurred no matter the method of enforcement.
If a PCN issued via CCTV would not have been issued had the vehicle been observed by a CEO or a marshal, this may be grounds for cancellation, although the other principles must also still be applied.