• Private Parking Ticket Court Cases with Real-life Examples & Advice

    Private Parking Ticket Court Cases with Real-life Examples & Advice

    If you’ve been issued a parking ticket, you might be wondering how far it can escalate. Could it really be that bad? Will you end up with court summons for not paying for your parking ticket? 

    The truth is that yes, you can end up in court for not paying for your parking ticket! We’ve created this guide to help you navigate what comes next if you do end up in court for ignoring your parking fine, and we’ve even looked into some news worthy cases so that you can make the right decision going forward.

    What happens if I don’t pay my parking ticket?

    With all private parking tickets, otherwise known as parking charge notices, you’re normally given 28 days to pay the fine or start an appeal process. However, if you choose to ignore your parking ticket, the private parking company may then start chasing you for the money you owe. This will often be through letters in the post, but it can still be very distressing to receive.

    They may also add late charges to the original cost of the ticket, which can also be distressing to hear of.

    Because parking tickets are of a low value in the grand scheme of things, sometimes private parking companies may even choose to sell that debt to a debt collection agency. However, there’s no telling when or if they will do this at all, because all parking companies have a different process to follow when tickets aren’t paid.

    Can I be taken to court for not paying my parking ticket?

    In short, yes.

    A private parking company can choose to take you to court if you’ve ignored your parking charge notice after the 28 days are up. However, they may not choose to go down the route of appealing to a judge straight away, largely because it’s a small amount of money to fight for.

    If you do end up in court and the private parking company wins their case, you’ll then be issued a CCJ, which means that you now legally have to pay the fine. There may also be fines on top of that for court costs. Once you’ve been issued a CCJ, you’ll have a further month to pay the full amount.

    If you continue to ignore the fines against you, the private parking company could then ask permission from the court to take further action against you. If you’ve been issued a CCJ previously and ignored it, there’s a good chance that permission will be granted, and you may then end up with bailiffs turning up to recover possessions for sale at an auction. This will cover the amount you owe and then your debt will be settled.

    Another thing the private parking company could do is ask permission for the amount owed to be seized from your wages, so you’re better off not ignoring the fine and taking some sort of action, whether that be paying up or appealing to begin with.

    Will private parking companies really take it that far?

    Not necessarily. While private parking companies have the right to take you to court for an unpaid parking ticket, they might not follow through with it. Sometimes they use the threat of legal action as a way to scare you into paying the fine. However, don’t bank on the fact that it might be a threat, they might follow through with it.

    You’ll receive what’s known as a letter before action (LBA) from the private parking company to let you know that they’re planning on taking you to court.

    Unfortunately, there’s no way of predicting whether a private parking company will follow through with their threat of taking you to court, so your best bet is to take the matter at hand seriously and deal with the fine now, rather than in court.

    What will the process look like?

    The private parking company can take you to court to recover the parking fine, they have to make a final effort of trying to resolve the issue with you. They will write to you with full details on how much money you owe, as well as explaining why you owe the money. The letter will also explain that if you don’t pay your parking ticket, then they intend to take you to court to recover the money owed.

    Source: Money Saving Expert

    As you can see, this MSE forum user had a ticket from CPM, but the private parking company had actually passed the issue onto a debt collector instead. This is quite common with parking companies, but they can also send you the letter themselves too.

    Private parking companies aren’t meant to send you a letter before action unless they’re actually planning on taking you to court. However, some companies will do it as a final attempt to scare you into paying.

    However, some private parking companies do follow through, so it’s important not to shrug off or ignore a letter before action. You’re better off dealing with the fine with either the private parking company, or the debt collection agency (if it’s been passed over). You may even be able to set up an affordable repayment plan if paying the full amount isn’t possible straight away. Either way, it’s better to resolve it now rather than going to court and incurring further charges.

    Will the court side with me or the private parking company?

    There’s a good chance that the court will side with the private parking company, especially if you’ve ignored their attempts to recover the cost and didn’t start any kind of appeal. However, the private parking company must:

    1. Run their car park fairly
    2. Followed the right procedures when pursuing the ticket, such as issuing the fine in time and offering you a discount
    3. Have the correct signage in their car park (well displayed, not misleading)

    Saying that, there may be extreme circumstances that causes the judge to side with you instead, but each case is different and cannot be predicted.

    Real life parking ticket stories that went to court

    One Parking Solution vs Toni Schiavone

    The case against Toni Schiavone is a particularly interesting one that came about back in 2020. Mr Schiavone appeared in court three times to appeal against the £70 fine that One Parking Solution issued to him. The penalty was thrown out in 2022 because the private parking company didn’t show up to the court case!

    However, they still pursued Mr Schiavone and he appeared in court for the third time. He was appealing on the grounds that the parking charge notice and other correspondence wasn’t in Welsh. 

    Mr Schiavone said “It’s a shame that I have to go to court to fight something as petty as this” and “It costs less to translate a letter into Welsh than it cost the prosecution to come here to fight this case.

    The court sided with Mr Schiavone and ordered One Parking Solution to pay for his travel expenses of £27.90, which Mr Schiavine said he was going to donate to a cancer charity.

    From there, Cymdeithas yr Iaith, a protest movement that’s been campaigning for the Welsh language since 1962, encouraged motorists in Wales not to pay their parking tickets from car parks that don’t display bilingual signs.

    As you can see, it’s perfectly possible for the motorists to win, as long as there is a solid ground for appealing!

    Indigo vs Cardiff NHS Staff

    A particularly upsetting case against NHS staff shows an example of when private parking companies win. 75 staff members at a Cardiff hospital were ruled against by the court for unpaid parking tickets.

    Staff working at the hospital had permits that allowed them to park in designated bays for £1.05 per day, but due to lack of spaces, some staff members had to park elsewhere.

    In 2016, Indigo said that has a “gesture of goodwill” that they cancelled all of the parking charge notices up to the end of March 2016, and would reduce the charge for tickets after that to £10 if the fees were paid within 14 days.

    It’s been said that the parking controls were brought into place by Indigo for health and safety reasons and to keep the flow of the car park moving. A spokesman for Indigo said “As the company responsible for managing parking and ensuring the free flow of traffic at Cardiff UHW, we have an obligation to ensure enforcement of parking restrictions… the court’s ruling has justified our decision to take this action.”

    As you can see, even in a case where people who work hard to save lives are involved, the private parking company can still win!

    Will I face jail time for not paying my parking ticket?

    No, you can’t be sent to jail for not paying a parking ticket. It’s what’s known as a civil matter because all you did was commit a minor road offence, which means that the penalty for this can only be through paying a fine.

    However, even though you can’t go to jail for not paying a parking ticket, it’s important to understand that you can be taken to court, and if you still ignore the ruling to pay, you might end up with bailiffs at your door. 

    Will going to court cost me any money?


    The final amount will depend on a few things, but overall you can expect a number between £100-£175. This will include appearance costs, filing fees, solicitor fees and travel expenses.

    How long can a private parking company chase me for my parking ticket?

    Six years.

    If the ticket is older than six years, it’s unlikely that the court would even look at the case to begin with. And, the private parking company must have served you with the Parking Charge Notice within 14 days of the alleged offense. If they didn’t without a valid reason, you have grounds not to pay at all.

    Appealing a parking ticket isn’t as daunting as you might think! We’ve put together a free and easy to use parking ticket appeal letter template to help you write a compelling letter to appeal your case.

    Free Parking Ticket Appeal Letter Download

    How can I avoid going to court?

    A court appearance is a step that’s taken pretty far down the line when it comes to recovering unpaid parking tickets. However, to make sure it never happens to you, there are a few things you can do, such as:

    1. Pay the fine 
    2. Start an appeal
    3. Send your appeal to an independent tribunal if your appeal to the private parking company is rejected
    4. Speak with the company about a payment plan if you’re struggling to pay the fee off in one

    Essentially, doing nothing is the worst thing you can do when it comes to a private parking ticket. Sure, the parking company might not pursue legal action, but it may cause you tremendous stress in the mean time. Being open to communication with the private parking operator is your best bet, regardless of whether you plan on paying or starting an appeals process!

    There are lots of cases online reporting motorists who have been forced to pay for the private parking fine through the ruling of the court – don’t make that mistake! We’ve got lots of information about private parking fines that we suggest you read through to make sure you’re clued up!

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