Transport for London is set to introduce the national refusals database (NR3) from August 2021 as part of its licensing process.

What is NR3?

The NR3 database allows councils and licensing authorities to record details of when a taxi or PHV driver application has been refused or a licence revoked.  The Department for Transport (DfT) Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Standards strong advise that licensing authorities to use the ‘NR3 database’.  

The purpose of NR3 is to allow other licensing authorities to conduct additional background checks on new applicants to check if they have had licences refused or revoked elsewhere. 

TfL said it will provide details of all taxi and private hire driver licence revocation and refusal decisions taken from 1 January 2018. From Monday 23 August 2021, any subsequent licensing decisions to refuse an application or revoke a licence will be added to the NR3 database on a weekly basis.    

How TfL deals with convictions and complaints

As already explained, licence refusals and revocations are registered on NR3.  Whilst there might be a number of reasons why TfL would refuse or revoke a driver’s licence, it is often a result of complaints or criminal history.

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.

The requirement to be a fit and proper person is not limited to new applicants.  Licensees must also ensure they remain fit and proper and licensees no longer deemed fit and proper could have their licences suspended and/or revoked.

What is fit and proper?

The might render a licensee or applicant no longer fit an proper. In the DfT guidance however, “fit and proper” is defined as:

Without any prejudice, and based on the information before you, would you allow a person for whom you care, regardless of their condition, to travel alone in a vehicle driven by this person at any time of day or night?

Whether you are fit and proper to hold a will be judged by the standard set above.

The DfT guidance goes on to say that applicants or licensees should not be ‘given the benefit of doubt’.  This, in practice, means that if, on the balance of probabilities, the answer to the question is ‘no’, you are unlikely to be granted a licence (or licence revoked for licensees).

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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