Almost every licensing authority will have conditions attached to the grant of a vehicle licence relating to signage, notices or advertising permitted on licensed vehicles.
Powers exists under section 60 and 68 of the Local Government (MP) Act 1976 to suspend, revoke or refuse to renew a licence on a number of grounds.
Section 60 includes a provision: “(a) that the hackney carriage or private hire vehicle is unfit for use as a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle”.
Section 68 says that: “Any authorised officer of the council in question or any constable shall have power at all reasonable times to inspect and test, for the purpose of ascertaining its fitness, any hackney carriage or private hire vehicle licensed by a district council…”
In the case of Wilcock v Lancaster City Council, the High Court ruled on the interpretation of section 68. It said that “…it is accepted that the word “fitness” under section 60 includes matters such as breach of licence conditions…I have reached the clear view that the word “fitness” in section 68 means precisely the same as it means in section 60.”
In other words, the High Court has ruled that a breach of licence conditions can be interpreted as a licensed vehicle being “unfit” and therefore subject to suspension under of section 68.
In the Wilcock v Lancaster City Council case the claimant, Mrs Ellen Wilcock, displayed signage on her licensed vehicle that was not sanctioned by the council who consequently suspended her vehicle licence.
In theory, the same principle can be applied where a licensed vehicle has attached to it a flag belonging to a country competing during the 2018 Football World Cup if this is not permitted by the relevant licensing authority.
We regularly act for licensed hackney carriage and private hire drivers who face problems with their licences. If you are facing the prospect of losing your licence or have had your licence revoked or suspended call us today for a free initial assessment of your case.