How to appeal
Outraged by a parking ticket or a clamping decision, or simply dismayed at failing your driving test? Here's how you can appeal and what do you need to do, writes Geraldine Herbert
On average, 46% of those sitting their driving test fail it. If you are one of the unlucky ones it is possible to appeal but there are a number of steps you need to follow. As appeals against driving test results are heard by a judge in the District Court, you must first lodge your appeal with your local District Court office. You can get a solicitor to do this for you or you can do it in person. When you contact the court office you must supply them with a written outline of the reasons why you believe the result of the driving test was unfair. Once your request is received the District Court will prepare a notice of appeal on your behalf which will be issued to the driving tester and to the Road Safety Authority. The District Court office will notify you of the time, date and place for the hearing of your appeal. The timeframe for when your case is heard will depend on the case load of the court.
There are only two possible outcomes from the appeal: either the judge agrees with the decision of the driving tester that you failed your test, or your appeal is upheld and you will then be offered a further driving test free of charge. Ultimately, whether you are successful or unsuccessful in your original appeal, the result of the test will not be reversed so you will still be required to resit the test.
If you have concerns about the result of your Driver Theory test you should speak to an administrator before leaving the test centre. If you are still not satisfied, you can appeal against the decision using appeal forms available at each of the Driver Theory test centres and request that Prometric (the theory test provider) re-mark the test. If you do decide to submit an appeal, it must be done within 10 working days.
If you've received a parking ticket and you feel it was issued or applied unfairly, you can challenge it. Generally, when appealing a parking ticket you should contact the local authority where the ticket was issued. It will either have staff dealing with queries and complaints from members of the public or it can give you contact details for whatever company is responsible for parking control in that area.
You can either make your complaint by phone or you can write to the relevant authorities, giving details and enclosing any documents (photographs, details of road markings, etc) that may help your case. Most complaints will be acknowledged within days of receipt. Your claim will be investigated and you should receive a response within a month.
On average almost 160 cars a day are clamped on behalf of Dublin City Council, with countless others clamped in car parking facilities across the country. Since October this year, a statutory appeals and complaints process has been in place. This is administered by the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the Vehicle Clamping Act 2015, which regulates all clamping activity in both public and private places.
If you have been clamped or had your vehicle towed away and wish to appeal it, you must first make a written submission to the operator concerned. If you are not satisfied by the outcome of that appeal, you may within 30 days submit a further appeal to the Clamping Appeals Officer, who is a person appointed by the NTA to deal with clamping appeals.
Speeding Tickets and other fixed charge notices
If you think a speeding fine is unfair, or you have some mitigating excuse, it is often worth taking the time to challenge the decision.
You may appeal a Garda fixed charge penalty notice but for it to be cancelled it has to fall into one of two categories:
Category A covers items such as when there is an error in detection equipment, if you have a seatbelt exemption, for non-display of motor tax or insurance when your vehicle was actually taxed or insured on the date in question, offences when a car was stolen, sold or scrapped and if the driver is under 18 years old.
Category B covers exceptional circumstances. This takes into account the circumstances under which the offence was committed and includes the following:
- Doctors rushing to a patient in an emergency where life is at risk - again, not for a routine call;
- Bringing someone to hospital in an emergency where their life is at risk or for an urgent treatment but it does not extend to a routine appointment;
- Immediately following the notification of death of a family member but not travelling to a funeral; and
- Emergency situations such as responding to a fallen power line or gas leak may be considered but not for routine maintenance.
No current tax disc
You can appeal if your car was taxed at the time but the tax disc was accidentally removed from the vehicle or lost prior to the issue of the fixed charged penalty.
For further information you should contact The Fixed Charge Processing Office, Parnell Street, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, E41 WV84, by email email@example.com or telephone on 1890 30 40 60.
The Refusal of a NCT Certificate
More than half of all vehicles tested failed the National Car Test last year. If you feel your car should not have failed, the NCT advises that you should first raise your concern with the person in charge of the test centre before leaving. If you are still not satisfied, you should complete a complaints form, clearly outlining your concerns and submit it to the NCTS Customer Service Department. Complaint forms are available at your local NCT centre. NCTS Customer Service will investigate your complaint and send you a reply within two weeks. If, after this, you still feel you have been unfairly refused a Test Certificate, you may lodge a formal appeal in writing to the Independent Appeals Board (IAB), NCT Appeals, AA Technical Department, AA Ireland, 61a South William Street, Dublin 2. You can also call them on 01 617 9000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A toll penalty
If you believe you have wrongly received a penalty letter because your car was not on the toll road at the time specified in the penalty letter, or you have already paid your toll, you should contact the toll providers directly. If you have paid the toll you will need to provide proof of payment. If you believe that you received the penalty in error, it should be possible to review the image taken by the toll cameras. If you've recently sold the vehicle, the Department of Transport's Driver and Vehicle Computer Services Division (DVCSD) should be notified, so that their vehicle ownership records can be updated.