Regulatory investigation into taxi driver license
Blake Morgan's Driver Defence team is the leading team of specialist road traffic lawyers in the South of England. We have been recognised by legal directory Chambers and Partners: A Client's Guide to the Legal Profession 2017 as a Band 1 firm in this field. Our team of specialist lawyers travel all the country to help motorists facing a driving ban or having penalty points put on their licence. Our work has taken us to Magistrates and Crown Courts all over the country. Many of our cases have reached the Higher Courts.
Simon White was instructed by P, a taxi driver, who had received a letter from the borough council inviting him to an interview as the borough council had received information which caused them to believe that P was no longer a fit and proper person to hold a taxi driver's license. The information concerned motoring convictions which had led to P receiving 18 penalty points on his driving licence although he had not been disqualified and was therefore still legally able to drive a car. The borough council alleged that he had failed to declare these convictions, either at the time that he received them or on his most recent taxi driver's license application.
The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act empowers a district council to require any applicant for a taxi drivers license to submit to them such information as they may reasonably consider necessary to enable them to determine whether the licence should be granted and whether conditions should be attached to any such licence. This usually includes the requirement to disclose any criminal convictions including motoring convictions. The act also makes it is a criminal offence for a person to knowingly or recklessly make a false statement or omit any material in giving information under this section.
The same act allows a district council to suspend, revoke or refuse to renew a taxi driver's license if they have been convicted of certain criminal offences, failed to comply with the provisions of the act or any other reasonable cause. The test used is whether a driver remains a "fit and proper person". Each borough council or licensing authority issues guidance in relation to their enforcement policy.
How our Driver Defence solicitors helped
Simon White was able to go through the history of events that had led P to the position he found himself in. He then attended the interview with P in order to provide legal advice and make representations on his behalf. The interview was conducted under caution (under the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act) as the borough council were potentially investigating a criminal offence. The borough council's initial view was that the matter was so serious, taking into account P's licensing history, that they would be looking to revoke his taxi drivers license.
However having heard P's account in interview and the representations made on his behalf, they decided to allow P to keep his taxi driver's license and instead marked the matter by adding two penalty points to his taxi drivers license in accordance with the council's penalty points scheme. He was not prosecuted in relation to the criminal offence of failing to provide information. Needless to say, P was very grateful as a revocation of his licence would have meant a loss of his livelihood which would have had a dramatic impact upon his life and his family.
This case study highlights the importance of seeking expert legal advice whenever an individual is informed that there is an investigation into whether they remain fit and proper person to hold a licence. The business regulatory team at Blake Morgan have a wealth of experience in dealing with regulatory investigations.