MILLIONS of pounds worth of fixed penalty fines handed out for minor offences such as dropping litter or vandalism could be refunded if a legal move is successful.

It is claimed the £40 fines, given for anti-social behaviour such as drunkenness and breach of the peace, are flawed because the system offers virtually no opportunity for appeal in cases where the ticket has been improperly served.

While in England there is an automatic right of appeal through the courts, there is no procedure here to challenge a police “on the spot” fine, even if the ticket is clearly defective or paperwork wrongly filled in.

It is also being claimed that fixed penalty legislation is incompatible with citizens’ rights, as it upends the presumption of innocence.

Now two Paisley-based lawyers are preparing to take their argument against the system to the Court of Session in January, in a case which could open the floodgates for claims from people who have paid the £40.

Solicitor Paul Lynch and civil law practitioner Jilly Melrose say people are being snared by a flawed system that robs them of basic human rights.

They point out that the law only allows for the ticket to be cancelled in very limited circumstances, and the issuing officer is the only person who can amend the ticket.

There is also no procedure to challenge a police on the spot fine, even when the ticket is clearly defective such as when the officer involved has incorrectly completed the paperwork.

According to Mr Lynch young people are particularly impacted by the “flawed” system because they often opt to pay a fine without telling parents or carers.

Mr Lynch said: “One of the main issues raised by the case is the absence of any appeal procedure. The equivalent English provisions allow courts there to set aside such fines.”