What’s the position when a driver submits his licence renewal on time but the licensing authority fails to make a decision before the expiry date?

This was the subject of a case recently reported before Nottingham Crown Court.

As reported, Mr. Cartledge is a licensed hackney carriage driver who applied for the renewal of his driver’s licence before it expired. His application was not granted until 14 days after expiry. A council officer saw him standing by his cab in a public street the day before his driver’s licence was renewed, and Mr. Cartledge agreed he had been driving it. There was no suggestion he had been plying for hire or taking passengers. The council prosecuted him under section 46 Town Police Clauses Act 1847 for driving a hackney carriage without holding a licence. He was convicted in the magistrates’ court and appealed to Nottingham Crown Court.

The Crown Court judge ruled that “the proper inference from the agreed facts was that the application to renew had been refused.”  In other words, Mr. Cartledge had asked for a licence to take the place of his current licence on its expiry and had not been given what he had asked for.  This in effect is a refusal of the licence and the right of apply therefore applies from the date of the licence expiry.

What is important to note from the outcome of this case is that the appeal provision.  If a licence is “refused” by virtue of the fact that the licensing authority failed to make a determination before the expiry date, it was noted that the “practical” implication should be that the driver should be able to continue to work “until the time for appealing has expired, or, when an appeal is lodged, until the appeal is disposed of or withdrawn or fails.”

This approach will protect licensed drivers from loss of income if the refusal is a result of local administrative administration failings.

This case is of course not binding but provides an interesting and helpful perspective on the issue of renewals and the implications for licence holders where their licence is administratively “refused”.

Worth noting that primary legislation relevant to Greater London enshrines the “continue in force” provision and as such this issues arising from this case is perhaps more relevant to City of London and rest of England and Wales.

Disclaimer: This article is for guidance purposes only. Kings View Chambers accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken, or not taken, in relation to this article. You should seek the appropriate legal advice having regard to your own particular circumstances.

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