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Www.emlawshare.co.uk Taxi Licensing Lyn Sugden Gedling Borough Council 4 December 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Www.emlawshare.co.uk Taxi Licensing Lyn Sugden Gedling Borough Council 4 December 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Taxi Licensing Lyn Sugden Gedling Borough Council 4 December 2014

2 Agenda 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

3 Challenges… …by driver for… i)Refusal to grant licence ii)Decision to revoke mid term Both usually involve whether the driver is fit and proper In both cases appeal is to Magistrates’ Court within 21 days of the decision

4 Legislation 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 proper S59 - right of appeal to Magistrates’ Court against refusal to grant

5 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)

6 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’ (McCool (John) v Rushcliffe Borough Council)

7 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

8 Suspension/revocation 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

9 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

10 R(oao) Singh v Cardiff City Council [2012] EWCH 1852 (Admin) CCC had a policy with a points system to help assess whether a driver was fit and proper (will come back to this later) 2 nd 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.

11 Policies/JR 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

12 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?

13 Appeals to Magistrates’ Court More usual than the JR; LA refuses licence or revokes – applicant has 21 days to appeal to Magistrates’ 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

14 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 distressed’ Gateshead applied their policy and considered him not to be fit and proper and revoked his licence. C appealed to the Magistrates’ Court

15 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 heard/read 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’

16 Gateshead – appeal to High Court Gateshead applied to High Court by way of case stated – seeking clarification on a point of law – essentially a judicial review of the Magistrates’ decision 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 one.

17 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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