Hundreds of thousands of motorists who have received parking tickets from Barnet Council are entitled to ask for their money back, after a tribunal ruled that the tickets were 'invalid'.

In a test case on Saturday, an independent adjudicator from the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PTAS) said that two tickets given to Hugh Moses in Golders Green last year were not issued in accordance with Section 66 of the Road Traffic Act 1991, which says the penalty charge notice (PCN) should state the date of issue.

The tickets only stated the date of the parking infringement not the date on which the ticket was issued. The adjudicator, Timothy Thorne, argued that this was against the law even though PCNs are almost always issued while the car is illegally parked.

Referring to a previous case in Bury, Mr Thorne said: "I agree with the reasoning of the Bury decision and I am satisfied that the PCN issued to Mr Moses in this case is invalidated by its failure to specify the date of issue (as opposed to its contravention)."

Parking campaigner Barrie Segal, who helped Mr Moses overturn his two £80 fines, said the tribunal ruling meant that parking fines issued by the council worth £5 million a year were invalid, and anyone who had received a PCN could successfully appeal.

Mr Segal, founder of the web site, said he was very pleased with the ruling. "It's a legal precedent and a victory for the motorist against the unbelievable arrogance of local authorities in dealing with parking tickets," he said. "They are absolutely entitled to a refund and people have to make the decision of whether they are going to fight it or knuckle under it only takes a letter or an email to appeal. This has given them the power to ask for their money back."

Mr Moses, who lives in Buckinghamshire, said: "This has dragged on for so long but it is quite a relief to get rid of it. I'm just thrilled. Barnet Council must be really worried. It would be interesting to know how they are going to deal with the other people that have received tickets."

A council spokeswoman said it would be contacting PTAS for a review of the decision.

"The Road Traffic Act does not state that a PCN must contain the phrase date of issue'," she said, adding that the council's tickets do state the date of the offence. Section 66 of the Road Traffic Act 1991 refers to motorists paying fines within 14 or 28 days of the date of the notice'.