Started conversation Nov 28, 2006
I'm so sorry, I should visit PR more often. This is a very clear, user-friendly guide to the appeal process
There is a separate Parking and Traffic Appeal (or Adjudication, I forget which) in London. It has the same function as the national one.
As you say, it is possible to appeal to a council against a PCN on grounds other than the statutory grounds. Some councils include on the PCN a list of reasons they won't accept. A council should not do this; saying that it will *never* accept "I didn't realise it was so late" is fettering its discretion (what if you didn't realise it was so late because you were witnessing the emergency birth of your child at the time?).
You are also right to say that appealing on non-statutory grounds is normally a waste of time unless you can verify the reason you were late back to the car (eg produce evidence of birth time). Some councils will still reject this sort of appeal even if you can provide verification. But if the council has not taken proper account of your evidence in reaching its decision not to cancel the PCN, particularly if it has simply applied a blanket policy of "We don't cancel PCNs", then you should complain through its complaints procedure and after that to the Local Government Ombudsman.
If you think the ticket machine isn't working, check other cars nearby to see if they are displaying tickets (maybe you're just technologically incompetent). If you still can't get it to work, contact the council straight away (ie before you do anything else on your outing). Parking attendants check the machines if there is a note in a windscreen saying "ticket machine not working". And if it works for them (highly likely if they know how it works and you aren't familiar with it) then you will get a PCN, and the council won't believe you because there will be no evidence that *you* couldn't get it to work.
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