Tansport for London (also referred to as the Public Carriage Office) is responsible for licensing drivers of private hire vehicles (or minicabs) in London. To be issued a licence, the applicant must be fit and proper. What is fit & proper, when can TfL refuse your application and what are your rights of appeal?

Decision Making

TfL has delegated its licensing functions to officers in its London Taxi and Private Hire directorate which means that decisions concerning the fitness to propriety of applicants are made by officers. Outside London, it is common for such decisions to be made by licensing committees made up of elected councillors.

Fit and Proper

To be licensed as a driver of a TfL private hire vehicle, there are a number of requirements that you must comply with:

  1. must be at least 21 years of age;
  2. must have had an ordinary driving licence for at least 3 years; and
  3. be of good character and fit and proper. 

The first two are a matter of fact. The fit and proper/good character aspect of the requirements is more complicated. TfL guidance states:

“The requirement of fit and proper will include the consideration of the applicant’s convictions as well as his medical fitness.”

Medical Fitness

An applicant must be medically fit which means meeting the DVLA Group 2 medical standards. This requires a medical examination with a medical professional who has access to full medical records.

Convictions

Principally, the TfL criterion for good character and fit & proper is determined mainly on:

  1. the applicant’s conviction; and
  2. other such reports including police observations and entries made in his DVLA-issued driving licence.

Generally speaking, TfL will refuse applicants for any of the following convictions:

  • Any conviction for a major violent offence (murder, manslaughter etc.)
  • More than one conviction of any type of violent offence in the last 10 years
  • Serving a custodial sentence, even if the applicant has been released early on licence or the sentence was suspended
  • Convicted, cautioned or subjected to any other penalty for a serious sexual offence (rape, indecent assault, trafficking, possession of indecent images etc)
  • Convicted, cautioned or subjected to any other penalty for more than one sexual offence of any type, irrespective of age
  • Listed on either the Children’s or Adults’ barred list
  • Convicted, cautioned or subjected to any other penalty for touting in the last 12 months or have more than one penalty for touting in the last five years

It is worth noting that this is not an exhaustive list and that TfL might, on a case to case basis, refuse application on other grounds not listed above.

Right of Appeal

An applicant may appeal to the Magistrates Court against the refusal to grant a licence or against any condition to which such a licence is subject.

Any such appeal must to be made within 21 days of the receipt of the decision letter/notice in which the refusal to grant a PHV driver’s licence is made known.

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