Under section 61 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, a licensing authority can suspend, revoke or refuse to renew a driver’s hackney carriage or private hire licence on any of the following grounds:
1. That he has since the grant of the licence—
- been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty, indecency or violence; or
- been convicted of an offence under or has failed to comply with the provisions of the Act of 1847 or of this Part of this Act;
2. that he has since the grant of the licence been convicted of an immigration offence or required to pay an immigration penalty; or
3. any other reasonable cause.
The requirement for licence holders to be, and remain, fit & a proper people remains a relevant consideration for any decision making under section 61.
In normal circumstances, the effect of a decision to revoke, suspend or refuse to renew a driver’s licence will not take effect until the either the period for lodging an appeal has expired or until the outcome of an appeal has been determined.
Therefore a licensed driver can continue to work – notwithstanding the licensing authority’s decision – for at least another 21 days which is the period in which to lodge an appeal. If they do lodge an appeal, the 21 days limit is extended until the outcome of the appeal has been determined. (section 61(2A)).
However, under section 61(2B) a licensing authority has the power to revoke or suspend a hackney carriage or private hire licence driver’s licence with immediate effect. The ability for any licensing authority to rely on the power of immediate suspension/revocation is predicated on the need to evidence that such a drastic step was in the interest of public safety.
The effect of a decision to suspend/revoke with immediate effect is that the licence holder must stop working immediately. In other words, they will not have the benefit of continuing to work whilst any appeal is determined (as explained above).
Section 61(2B) makes it very clear – for good reason – that the licensing authority is under duty to explicitly state that the suspension/revocation takes immediate effect and also to provide a statement setting out their reason(s) for coming to the decision.
A decision to suspend/revoke with immediate effect is a significant one and one that no licensing authority must make lightly. If such a drastic action turns out to be wrong, the affected licence holder could have an argument to claim back lost earnings – particularly because there would have been alternative sanctions that would have had less of an impact and may therefore have been more proportionate and appropriate.
There may be circumstances where a decision to suspend/revoke with immediate effect would be proportionate and appropriate but equally there may be circumstances where such an action is wholly wrong. In these circumstances it will be necessary for an appeal to be determined without delay given the significant impact of an immediate suspension/revocation. Under these circumstances, the right legal advice would also be recommended.
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.