Traffic Penalty Tribunal

Example Cases

Payment going astray

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Sometimes an appellant says they have paid the penalty charge (usually within the 14-day period discount rate) but the council denies receiving it. The PCN specifies the methods by which motorists may pay; they are well advised not to substitute methods of their own.

Paying with cash

A penalty charge paid in cash without receipt has not been paid (SK05008B)
The appellant, issued with a PCN, appealed on the ground that the penalty charge was paid. He claimed that he put £30 in cash in an envelope and pushed it through the council's letter-box the day after the PCN was issued. Yet, although a thorough search was carried out, no trace of the envelope or money was found. The Adjudicator was satisfied that the council had carried out a robust investigation to locate the money. She held that, for a penalty to be discharged, a motorist was responsible for ensuring that the council received payment. As the council had not received the money, the penalty had not been discharged and the amount remained unpaid.
The appeal was dismissed.

Paying by cheque

A payment posted with no stamp (SK05011G)
The appellant, issued with a PCN on 3 December, posted a cheque to the council within 14 days, which they did not receive, and appealed on the ground that the PCN had been paid. The Adjudicator found that the envelope had remained with the post office until 30 March flowing, before being returned to the appellant because it did not have a stamp on it.
The appeal was dismissed. (The council agreed to accept the discount rate of £30, which it ordered to be paid.)

A cheque that went astray in the post (PR05018B)
Issued with an NTO, the appellant appealed on the ground that the penalty charge had been paid. At the hearing, the appellant claimed that he had sent a cheque for £30 by post seven days after the PCN was issued, although he could produce no corroborating evidence. The council contended that they had not received the payment. The Adjudicator, considering the evidence and finding no reason to doubt the appellant's claim that the cheque had been posted, directed that the council permit him to pay the £30 discount rate, since he should not be prejudiced by that fact, through no fault of his own, the payment had not been received.
The appeal was dismissed. (The council was recommended to give time to pay.)

A cheque posted without evidence (
The appellant, issued with an NTO, appealed on the ground that the penalty charge had been paid by cheque, in time at the discount rate, although she was unable to produce any evidence of having posted the cheque or the postage rate she paid. The council claimed that the payment had not been received. The Adjudicator did not accept that the appellant had posted her cheque in time, but restated the
general legal principle, most clearly embodied in the Civil Procedure Rules, that a properly addressed letter sent by first-class post is deemed to arrive with the recipient on the second day after posting. Observing that, had the appellant been able to produce evidence of posting, she might have been able to take advantage of the principle, he ordered that the penalty charge be paid in full.
The appeal was dismissed.

Telephone and computerised payments

A claimed telephone payment (ET05018F)
The appellant was sent an NTO following the issue of a PCN for parking in a restricted area and appealed on the ground that the penalty charge had already been paid. The Adjudicator found that the appellant's representations to the council had made no mention about any attempt to pay, but had focused on the circumstances of the contravention. The council had eventually offered a further opportunity to pay at the discount rate, which the appellant had not taken up. On appeal, the appellant claimed that she had tried to pay by telephone shortly after the PCN had been issued but that the payment had not gone through because of a fault with the system. The Adjudicator was not convinced by this explanation of events, finding not only that it was inconsistent with the documented events but also that the appellant had provided very little information about the attempt to pay. Believing it to be more likely than not that no valid payment was made, she ruled that the full amount of the penalty charge was now due.
The appeal was dismissed.

A corroborated computerised payment (TB05107H)

Issued with a PCN for parking on a yellow line at a restricted time, the appellant had tried to pay online within the 14-day discount-rate period and believed her payment had gone through. When she received an NTO, she had challenged it on the grounds that the penalty charge had been paid. The council had rejected the representations and asked that the penalty charge be paid in full. At the hearing, the appellant's explanation was supported by a witness statement from a colleague, who had helped her attempt the online payment and confirmed that the payment had appeared to go through. The Adjudicator was satisfied by the appellant's evidence that she had made a genuine attempt to pay, and found that it was just as likely that a fault in the council system had prevented the payment from going through as that the appellant had somehow been at fault. He expressed surprise at the council's refusal to renew the discount-rate penalty period, saying that it had doubtless cost more than £30 to contest the appeal.

The appeal was allowed.