DVLA Driving License Medical Revocations – What Are My Options To Appeal?
A driving license is an essential part of life for most people, serves many vital functions including facilitating commuting, everyday tasks, leisure. For some (including occupational drivers, carers, and those with disabilities), a driving license is even more important, and serves as a lifeline. The revocation of a driving license can therefore cause significant hardship and stress, not only for the person revoked, but also for their friends and family.
What are the Grounds for revoking my driving license?
The DVLA are legally obliged to protect the public first and foremost. The duty of the DVLA to refuse or to revoke a license is set out here (the “Act”), which outlines the definitions of “disability”, “relevant disability”, and “prospective disability”.
In accordance with the legislation, the Secretary of State for Transport (although in practice, the DVLA) may refuse or revoke a license where the driver fails to meet the requisite standard of fitness, itself laid down within The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licenses) Regulations 1999 (the “Regulations”), and subject to additional guidance set out by the DVLA within their Guide for Medical Professionals (the “Guidance”).
Where the DVLA consider that it appears a driver does not meet the requisite standard, there is no discretion upon the part of the DVLA under the Act, and they must refuse or revoke the license of the individual in question.
The DVLA will send a letter to the driver which confirms the refusal or revocation (and the period of revocation if applicable), whilst also outlining the specific reasons behind the refusal or revocation of the driver’s license.
How has the DVLA found out about my condition?
Section 92(1) of the Act imposes an obligation upon all drivers to notify the DVLA if they are subject to any condition which would mean they do not meet the requisite standard of health. If a driver fails to report a condition as required, and continues to drive, that driver commits a criminal offence in doing so under Section 92(10) of the Act.
However, even if a driver doesn’t notify the DVLA themselves, the DVLA may be put on inquiry following information from various sources including:
- The driver’s GP or Consultant (who has a legal obligation to report the driver which overrides any duty of confidentiality);
- The Police (following a car accident or other investigation);
- Social Workers (following reports/investigations etc.);
- The Courts (following criminal convictions or admissions in evidence); and
- Third Parties (family, friends, neighbours, malicious reports, etc.).
Whilst it may be desirous to find out the identity of the entity or individual who made a report (especially where that report is false/malicious), the DVLA will categorically not release this information, as to do so would be a breach of Data Protection legislation.
How can I challenge the DVLA’s decision?
Where the DVLA refuse or revoke a driving licence on incorrect grounds, where the Regulations and Guidance are incorrectly applied, or on the basis of incorrect information provided to the DVLA, the decision of the DVLA may be open to challenge.
In the first instance, it may be possible to make representations to the DVLA directly asking them to reconsider their decision. Any such representations should include medical evidence from a relevant specialist, so that this information can be reviewed by the DVLA in reviewing their decision.
However, the DVLA’s operational capabilities (much like most Government Departments) are extremely stretched, and it therefore likely that a response from the DVLA may not be received speedily, and there may be significant delay.
The DVLA’s decision to refuse or revoke a license is subject to a statutory right of appeal under Section 100 of the Act, and so if the DVLA refuse to reconsider their decision, or do not respond, an application can be made to your local Magistrates’ Court to appeal the decision to refuse/revoke your license.
What will happen if I appeal to the Magistrates’ Court?
An appeal brought under Section 100 of the Act is heard before the Magistrates’ Court (primarily a Criminal Court), however is a form of Civil Proceedings and is thus governed by the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (as opposed to the Criminal equivalent).
There is no Legal Aid available for DVLA appeals, and the standard rule as to costs will apply; namely that the losing party pays the majority of the winning party’s costs. However, this is not guaranteed, and it may be that you are successful on appeal but are required to pay your own costs, or even in some circumstances pay the DVLA’s costs of defending the appeal.
These cases are dealt with by Magistrates very rarely, and therefore it is important if you do issue an appeal that you obtain expert legal advice and representation, including proper preparation and expert evidence (where appropriate) in advance of any appeal hearing.
How can Ellis Jones help you?
Our expert team of Regulatory Solicitors have a wealth of experience in advising individuals whose licenses have been refused or revoked by the DVLA on medical grounds. If your license has been revoked and you would like advise as to whether to appeal, or you have been advised by your Doctor not to drive, please contact our specialist team by email or by telephone on 01202 525333.
How can we help?
When you submit this form an email will be sent to the relevant department who will contact you within 48 hours. If you require urgent advice please call 01202 525333.