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NPHTA SUPPORT NETS RESULTS IN NORTH NORFOLK


PHTM was contacted recently by the secretary of North Norfolk Taxi and Private Hire Association (NNTPHA) to advise us of their success in getting a driver’s licence back after it had been revoked. Bring it on! – we need more positivity around here at the present time.


Background: A driver had appeared in front of the licensing sub-committee in 2019 for accumulating 12 DVLA points on his licence, resulting him receiving a six-month ban, reduced to one month on appeal. The sub-committee allowed him to keep his taxi licence with a warning attached, if he were to reappear in front of them with another endorsable offence whilst he still had endorsements on his licence they would take a much dimmer view.


Unfortunately he was called in front of the licensing sub-com- mittee again in January 2020 after an anonymous report of him driving with no road tax. He had been out and taxed the car as soon as this was brought to his attention, however the enforcement officers in two pieces of correspondence informed him that this was a serious offence as it had invalidated his insurance and he would have to appear in front of the committee again.


During the hearing the committee asked if driving with no road tax invalidated insurance and the licensing officer replied that it did. This answer escalated his breach of conditions of the hand- book, (not having road tax) to a more serious one of not having insurance which is an endorsable offence. The committee


revoked his licence saying they had taken into account the comment on his previous appearance and he had put himself, passengers and other road users in danger and he was therefore not a fit and proper person to hold a licence.


His licence was revoked with immediate effect due to the seriousness of the offence, however he lodged an appeal with the Magistrate’s Court at an initial cost of £60 and awaited a hearing date at which time it would have cost him a further £500+ plus solicitors’ fees to represent him. If he had lost his appeal the council could have also claimed costs from him totalling thousands, and councils have been known to do this.


In steps NNTPHA, Secretary Steve Heels suggested that as there was no time limit before he could reapply for a licence, he should do so forthwith. Whilst his only course of appeal is through the Magistrate’s Court, this would be deemed a new application which would go in front of the licensing sub- committee due to the circumstances, and at this point a case could be put forward.


The NNTPHA Secretary Steve Heels offered to represent him at his hearing which was accepted. A case was put forward that driving with no road tax or for that matter no MoT doesn’t invalidate insurance, this was supported with clear evidence. It was suggested that because the committee was given incorrect information at the hearing, in saying that it did invalidate insurance, then the committee was almost forced to treat the driver’s offence of driving with no road tax more seriously and had to revoke his licence.


He also stated that the association had helped the driver put procedures in place that would prevent any further errors, and as a consequence of this and the evidence produced the com- mittee granted the application.


This case highlights several points:


• The importance of being a member of your local association, in this case it not only got a driver his licence back but also saved him hundreds of pounds going through the court process.


• That licensing officers get things wrong • The importance of having a proper monitoring system in place for all your renewals and services etc.


Steve had several conversations with David Lawrie – before he was appointed NPHTA director – and they concurred that driving with no road tax does NOT invalidate the insurance. He had also liased with Pattersons Law and Belmores solicitors in Norwich in compiling the evidence.


The point behind this story is quite simply that if a licence hold- er belongs to a trade association – whether locally or nationally – they have somebody behind them to “fight in their corner”, as it were, and more often than not get a positive result without having to go to the time, expense and stress of attending court.


You know what we say: A UNIFIED TRADE IS A POWERFUL VOICE!


40 NOVEMBER 2020


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