taxis powerpoint 4.12.14

Taxi Licensing
Lyn Sugden
Gedling Borough Council
4 December 2014
• Brief overview of Taxis legislation (though some
knowledge assumed)
• ‘fit and proper’ test
• Suspension/revocation of licences
• Judicial reviews – brief look
• Appeals to Magistrates' court
…by driver for…
i) Refusal to grant licence
ii) Decision to revoke mid term
Both usually involve whether the driver is fit and
In both cases appeal is to Magistrates’ Court within
21 days of the decision
• LG(MP)A 1976 – Private Hire
• S51 – PH – cannot grant a licence unless driver is
fit and proper
• S52 – right of appeal of refusal to grant to
Magistrates’ Court
• LG(MP)A 1976 – Hackney Carriages
• S59 – cannot grant unless satisfied driver is fit and
• S59 - right of appeal to Magistrates’ Court against
refusal to grant
So what is ‘fit and proper’?
Before granting a HC or PH drivers licence must assess
this…but how?
• No statutory definition so reliant on case law
• Onus on applicant to prove he is fit and proper; if LA
contend he is not then need to be satisfied on civil
standard (balance of probability) (R v Maidstone Crown
Court ex p Olson [1992] COD 498)
• Council’s functions are to ‘achieve, so far as they can,
the safety, convenience and comfort of passengers...’
and ‘the safety of other road users’ (Maud v Castle
Point BC [2002] EWCA Civ 1526)
Fit and Proper…again…
Look to achieve to objectives of the licensing regime – to
ensure that ‘those licensed to drive…are suitable persons…
namely that they are safe driver with good driving records
and adequate experience, sober, mentally and physically fit,
honest, and not persons who would take advantage of their
employment to abuse or assault passengers’
‘it is appropriate for the local authority … to regard as a
good reason anything which a reasonable and fair minded
decision maker, acting in good faith and with proper regard
to the interests both of the public and the appellant, could
properly think it right to rely on’
(John) v Rushcliffe Borough Council)
Duration of licences
• LG(MP)A s53…applies to HC and PH
• Licences are for 3 years ‘or for such lesser period
as the district council may specify…’
• Proposed changes in Deregulation Bill…licences
for 3 years ‘or for such lesser period , specified in
the licence, as the district council think
appropriate in the circumstances of the case’
• So standard will be 3 years and must have driver
specific reasons for lesser period
• Another ground of appeal?
• Committee stage in HL 20/11
LG(MP)A 1976 – applies to HC and PH
• S61(1) – power to suspend/revoke if convicted of
offence involving dishonesty, indecency or violence
or offence under LG(MP)A or TPCA, or any other
reasonable cause
• S61(3) – right of appeal against decision to
suspend/revoke to Magistrates’ Court
• S77 – appellant can carry on business, so licence
continues until appeal disposed suspend/revoke
Leeds City Council v Hussain
[2002] EWHC 1145
• Do not need to wait for a guilty verdict
• Not necessary to hear evidence from live
witnesses before decide to suspend/revoke
• Not necessary to decide that there is a
reasonable chance of successful prosecution
before taking action
• Don’t consider impact on driver’s livelihood or
consider compensation if he ultimately acquitted
• Personal circumstances irrelevant except in very
rare cases to explain the conduct of the driver.
• Suspension is a sanction not a punishment
R(oao) Singh v Cardiff City
Council [2012] EWCH 1852
CCC had a policy with a points system to help
assess whether a driver was fit and proper (will
come back to this later)
2nd driver Mr Morrissey was invited to a meeting to
assess whether he was still fit and proper; did not
turn up; licence suspended opening his attendance
at future meeting. Later revoked.
No…cannot do … suspension is a final decision.
S61 does not allow interim action.
• The other way a challenge can be made is against
the policy
• Singh (above) also had his licence revoked under
the points system; lodged appeal with Magistrates
but adjourned pending his application for a review
of the policy
• CCC’s policy was that any driver who got 10
points under their system within 3 years would
have their licence revoked automatically
• Judicial review
Singh – decision…
Judicial review, not an appeal; no general power to
grant or refuse licence (unlike Magistrates’ court); looks
at the decision making process.
The policy on which the decisions to revoke the
licences of Singh and Morrissey was unlawful (and the
decisions made pursuant to those policies were
unlawful) because
• Policy fettered discretion…did not allow for the
Council to exercise its discretion
• No ability to consider the facts of earlier points
• Didn't consider alternative – suspension?
Appeals to Magistrates’ Court
• More usual than the JR; LA refuses licence or
revokes – applicant has 21 days to appeal to
• But process is civil although in Mags’ Court, and
burden of proof is civil
• Sagnata Investments Ltd v Norwich Corporation
(1971) 2 AER 1441.Hearing ‘de novo’; complete
re hearing; can consider all evidence, receive
fresh evidence, and come to own conclusion , but
must pay ‘proper regard’ to decision of LA and
policy provided not inflexible
Gateshead Council v Crozier
[2014] EWHC 2097 (Admin)
C had a current licence from Gateshead. No
complaints or issues until had a run-in with a
Housing Options Officer (not a passenger). His
behaviour made her feel ‘harassed, alarmed and
Gateshead applied their policy and considered him
not to be fit and proper and revoked his licence.
C appealed to the Magistrates’ Court
Crosier – appeal to Magistrates
The Magistrates found him to be fit and proper and
reinstated the licence. They said they…
• Understand the approach of Gateshead
• Have been concerned about some of what they
• been influenced by the fact that this was a single
complaint made some years ago
• Reiterate that the Council’s approach to the
decision was ‘not flawed, it is simply that we have
reached a different conclusion’
Gateshead – appeal to High
• Gateshead applied to High Court by way of case
stated – seeking clarification on a point of law –
essentially a judicial review of the Magistrates’
• High Court considered the process of the
Magistrates and decided that it was flawed; that
the power they had was to find that the LA’s
decision was wrong, and substitute their own, or
to conclude that the Authority was correct
• There was no power to overturn the LA’s decision
just because they would have come to a different
Magistrates’ Court proceedings
This afternoon there is a mock trail
But what do you do before then?
Driver lodges an appeal
LA receives a summons
Attend a preliminary hearing
LA prepares bundle, witness statements
Final hearing…this afternoon

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