Parking Fines – to appeal or not to appeal?

Many of us know the feeling that accompanies the realization that there’s something tucked neatly underneath your windshield wiper – the rage-eliciting “Parking Fine”. With an average of 75 tickets being issued every day in Cork city – we look to see if we can make sense of the stark rise in tickets being issued over the last few years.

Perhaps it is too many cars on the road? Too few parking spaces? Underutilized public transport? An ignorant public willing to park anywhere? The possibilities go on.

“The council issued 27,239 parking fines in 2015, and had already handed out 17,994 by the end of June 2016. Last year it collected €956,810, but with €641,740 collected in the first half of 2016, it is on track to outdo that figure and tip over the €1 million mark” [SOURCE]

But what happens if you feel the ticket was issued incorrectly or feel there were circumstances beyond your control that leads to a parking fine? Fear not – the appeal process is there to help you… or is it? You will need to fill out ‘The Cork City Council Parking Services Appeal Form’ and submit it to the Traffic Public Counter.

But what are your rights in the appeal process?

A simple Freedom of Information request will grant you all you need to know about how the decision to accept or reject your appeal is made by the omnipotent ‘appeals officer’. The document used to guide the appeals officer during in the decision-making process is the “Cork City Council Transportation Division Parking Appeals – Procedure Manual version 2 – June 2015”.

So a question to ask – in what situation might one be successful in the appeals process?

  • A medical emergency that prevents you from putting up a parking disk?
  • Your parking permit fell from the dash?

Do they seem reasonable cases to be considered for appeal? – let’s explore.

When we take a look at Page 8 of the Procedure Manual, the”main type of offences which result in appeals and the agreed guidelines in adjudicating on these appeals” are outlined.

As you can see – the Cork City Council will do very little to provide you any insight as to how the decision to accept or reject your appeal was made. An interesting point to note is that there is no legislation regarding this process – but, how then does the appeals officer have the power to make a decision at their own discretion? – especially if the individual who is seeking their parking fine to be reviewed – cannot reliably know how the decision to accept or reject their appeal has been made and on what grounds.

Upon rejection of an appeal – you will not be provided with any information as to how ruling was made- but instead, told the original offence is being upheld. Whether or not the re-stating of the ‘original offence’ provides any insight into the appeals process or under what category you ‘did’ or  ‘did not’ qualify for said appeal – remains somewhat ambiguous.

Image result for appeal denied stamp

This appears to be in direct conflict with the City Councils “core values” that outlines “Respect” as a guiding philosophical principle and to “treat all stakeholders, internal and external, with due regard for their feelings, needs, and rights” [SOURCE]. 

The thing is – what rights do you have in the appeals process – if you have no right to see the document that guides the individual that is making the decision on your appeal?

The answer? … see below…

Image result for redacted

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