The Appeals Process
Tickets are issued via camera and sent to the registered keeper's address. Unlike speeding tickets, it is the keeper that is liable, regardless if they were driving at the time. The authority keeps the money from the fines.
When you receive a ticket you have the opportunity to pay the reduced amount or appeal. The initial appeal is to the local authority. If they reject it, then you are able to appeal to the independent adjudicator. If you have appealed within 14 days, the authority has rejected it, and you then wish to appeal to the adjudicator, you will lose the opportunity to pay the discounted rate. Should you lose at adjudicator you will then be liable to pay the full amount. There's nothing that can be done about this I'm afraid. It is a major factor in putting people off from appealing. Authorities know this, and often reject initial appeals sometimes with standard template letters without even considering the points made. However if they don't consider the appeal properly, this in itself as actually grounds for appeal.
There is never any guarantee of winning at adjudicator no matter what advice I or anybody else gives. Each adjudicator is able to draw their own conclusions and although they do take them into account, they are not bound by the decisions made by other adjudicators. It's important to understand this and set your exceptions accordingly. However having said this, the majority of motorists who appeal to the adjudicator win and frequently the authority pulls out before the hearing.
Who are the adjudicators?
For London authorities the adjudicator is called London Tribunals. Outside London in England and Wales it is Traffic Penalty Tribunal. Appeals are normally made online using a code given by the authority when they reject your initial appeal. You can choose to have a personal hearing or a decision by post. The adjudicators are independent and lawyers by trade. They are able to issue costs, however this is rare and can only be considered where the authority’s behaviour is found by the adjudicator to have been ‘frivolous, vexatious or wholly unreasonable’.
What are case references?
When a case is heard at the adjudicator a public record of the decision is kept with a unique reference number. (However when an authority accepts or rejects an appeal, no public file is kept). As mentioned above, adjudicators are not 'bound' to follow them, however they are still very useful as precedents and adjudicators do make reference to other cases when making decisions. All the case references on this site are from London tribunals
Getting an adjudicator to rule on a specific issue (such as the legality of a box) in order to create a precedent is not easy. Firstly the majority of motorists are not clued up in the law and do not appeal. Secondly they must take the risk of appealing to the adjudicator knowing that if they lose the fine will double. Thirdly the authority can pull out of the appeal before it reaches the adjudicator. Figures from London Councils show that this happened on 56% of appeals in 2019. Finally, when a motorist appeals they will often (wisely) do so on multiple points to have a higher likelihood of winning. If they win on one point, often the adjudicator will not consider the other points. Therefore the chances of the planets aligning, to for example rule on the legality of a box is slim. For this reason there are still illegal boxes out there being enforced as we speak. Nonetheless as enforcement of yellow boxes in London has been around now for almost 20 years, there is quite a large collection of cases connected to different elements of yellow box law which I have extensively researched and include on this site.
Can I appeal the adjudicators decision?
It is possible to request a review of the decision on limited grounds which I quote below from London tribunals. They provide a template letter here.
A. Review under paragraph 12 of Schedule 1 to The Civil Enforcement of Road Traffic Contraventions (Representations and Appeals) (England) Regulations 2022.
There is no right of appeal from the adjudicator’s decision.
A review may only be granted in the following limited cases:
The decision was wrongly made because of an error by our administrative staff;
You failed to appear or be represented at a hearing for some good reason;
There is new evidence and the existence of this could not have been reasonably known of or foreseen before the decision;
The interests of justice require a review. You should note that an adjudicator's findings of fact are normally regarded as final and will only be overturned if they are plainly incompatible with the evidence that was before the adjudicator. The mere fact that you disagree with these findings is not a ground for review.
Please note that a review will only be granted if an adjudicator is satisfied that one or more of these applies. A review is not simply an opportunity for you to appeal again. You cannot ask for a review just because you disagree with the adjudicator's decision.
If you wish to apply for review, you should write to the Head of Support Services at the address given on your decision letter within 14 days of the decision being sent to you or handed to you at the hearing centre.
Set out in full your grounds for asking for a review; and
Say which of the cases one to four above you claim applies and why; and
If you are writing outside the 14 days, explain why. The adjudicator will not accept an application out of time unless there is good reason for the delay
Request a personal hearing of your application if you want one – if you do not, the application will be decided on the papers only.