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Alternative Dispute Resolution

ADR Officials
IAS appeals are considered by independent adjudicators, known as 'ADR Officials'. There are a number of ADR Officials that consider appeals which are all overseen by a Lead Adjudicator whose role it is to maintain the integrity of the service. All Officials are qualified solicitors or barristers who are appointed under a contract of self-employment of open duration. None of the Officials' identities are published in order to maintain security and avoid undue influence.

Lead Adjudicator
There is one Lead Adjudicator. The role of the Lead Adjudicator is to oversee independence and to promote consistency.

The profile of the Lead Adjudicator can be seen here

There are currently 9 Adjudicators.

ADR Procedure
The Independent Appeals Service is listed by The Chartered Trading Standards Institute as a certified Alternative Dispute Resolution organisation. The IAS has been assessed as being competent to deal with domestic and cross-border disputes relating to unpaid parking charges issued by private parking companies.

There are two types of appeal against parking charges that the IAS can provide;

  • The Standard Appeals Procedure, which provides a no-risk and free-of-charge independent review of the lawfulness of the charge, and,
  • The Non-Standard Appeals Procedure, which is binding on both parties and for which a fee is payable.

The ADR procedure that you may follow, whether there is any payment to make and whether the result is binding upon you is dependent upon several features.

The Standard Appeals Procedure
You may use the Standard Appeals Procedure free of charge and the result will not be binding on you, if:
  1. the operator has advised you that they will engage with the Standard Appeals Procedure;
  2. you have appealed to the Operator that issued the parking charge in accordance with their own internal appeals procedure; and,
  3. you register your appeal to the IAS within 21 days of that appeal being rejected by them.

The Non-Standard Appeals Procedure
You may use the Non-Standard Appeals Procedure, if:
  1. you have not, and are not able to, use the Standard Appeals Procedure;
  2. the operator has advised you that they will engage with the Non-Standard Appeals Procedure;
  3. you pay a nominal charge of £15 towards the cost of the appeal. This is non-refundable whether your appeal is successful or not; and,
  4. you agree to the decision being binding upon you;

The IAS will not consider appeals in the following circumstances:
  1. Where you have not attempted to resolve the dispute directly with the Operator.
  2. Where another ADR entity or a court has already begun to deal with the matter.
  3. Where the appeal is considered to be vexatious.
  4. Where dealing with such a type of dispute would seriously impair the effective operation of the IAS.
  5. Where the parking charge was imposed more than 12 months ago.

Please refer to the Can I Appeal flow chart which summarises the process and conditions of ADR.

Appeals (at all stages) will only be conducted in writing and in the English language.

The Terms of Reference of the Appeals procedure.
Both Standard and Non-Standard Appeals apply the same considerations. The Adjudicators only role is to determine whether the charge is lawful or not. Adjudicators will only have regard to the legal principles that apply in any matter and NOT to any other feature. Features that amount purely to mitigation (i.e. something that amounts to a reason for incurring the charge, but that does not remove your legal liability for it) cannot be considered as a ground to cancel a charge nor can the simple fact that there has been a breach of any Code of Conduct that the parking operator may subscribe to.

Adjudicators will apply the civil standard of proof; the balance of probabilities. Otherwise, the normal civil rules of evidence do not apply.

Once you have registered your appeal with the IAS, it is for the parking operator to provide a prima facie case that the charge is payable by you. This means that they must provide sufficient information/evidence to show that, on the face of it, the charge is lawful.

Once the Operator has uploaded their prima facie case, it is for you to show that for some reason the charge is not lawful.

Before you are able to use the IAS, you will have to register your details. These details may be checked or the IAS may require you to provide proof of identity.

Once an appeal has been initiated, you are not able to withdraw from it. If you stop engaging with the process then it will continue but without the input that you may otherwise have provided.

You may appoint a third-party to assist you at any stage in the proceedings. Where you do so, they will have to register their details as a representative and you will have to provide your consent for them to act on your behalf.

Length of Procedure
Because the parties to an appeal are each given set periods of time within which to upload their case; the overall length of the ADR procedure contains some inherent delay in order to accommodate this. However, once all of the parties to an appeal have submitted their evidence the IAS seeks to deal with all appeals within 21 days.

The total maximum time from an Initial Appeal is as follows:

  1. 5 working days for Operator to upload prima facie case.
  2. 5 working days for Appellant to upload appeal.
  3. 5 working days for Operator to respond.
  4. Steps 2 and 3 above are repeated until all evidence has been submitted.
  5. 21 working days for Adjudication.