You must be fit and proper to be licensed and continue to be so to remain licensed.  What is ‘fit and proper’ according to Transport for London? 

TfL Licensing Requirements

You must be fit and proper to be licensed as a private hire driver, and continue to be so to remain licensed.  Transport for London (TfL) sets the standards that determine whether you are fit and proper.  

To be licensed as a private hire driver, there are a number of checks you must complete, including: 

  1. You will need to have an enhanced criminal records check done by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS);
  2. You must be physically fit. This will mean that you will need to have a medical examination with a doctor who has access to all of your medical records; and
  3. You will need to prove that you have a good comprehension of the English language.

What is ‘fit and proper’

These checks, including the others specified by TfL, assess whether you are a fit and proper person.  

TfL defines ‘fit and proper’ as “…generally means to not have a criminal record, and to be honest in your dealings with authority.” 

However, the Department for Transport’s statutory guidance defines ‘fit and proper’ 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?”

How will TfL determine if I am ‘fit and proper’?

You must complete all the licensing requirements set by TfL.  TfL will look at the outcome of all of these assessments and decide if you are fit and proper.  For example, if you have a criminal record, poor health or poor comprehension of English, TfL is unlikely to grant you a driver’s licence. 

According to TfL, if you have any of the following convictions, it’s unlikely that your application will be successful.

  • Any conviction for a major violent offence (murder, manslaughter etc)
  • Whether you have more than one conviction of any type of violent offence in the last 10 years
  • If you are still serving a custodial sentence, even if you have been released early on licence or the sentence was suspended
  • If you have been convicted, cautioned or subjected to any other penalty for a serious sexual offence (rape, indecent assault, trafficking, possession of indecent images etc)
  • Whether you have been convicted, cautioned or subjected to any other penalty for more than one sexual offence of any type, irrespective of age
  • Whether you are listed on either the Children’s or Adults’ barred list
  • If you have been 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

This is not an exhaustive list – licensing decisions are made on a case by case basis.

You should be aware that TfL is not restricted to just these checks.  Other information such as complaints, non-conviction information etc. could also lead to a licence refusal. 

The Department for Transport’s statutory guidance states that: 

“All decisions on the suitability of an applicant or licensee should be made on the balance of probability. This means that an applicant or licensee should not be ‘given the benefit of doubt’. If the committee or delegated officer is only “50/50” as to whether the applicant or licensee is ‘fit and proper’, they should not hold a licence. The threshold used here is lower than for a criminal conviction (that being beyond reasonable doubt) and can take into consideration conduct that has not resulted in a criminal conviction.”

The guidance makes clear that applicants should not be given the benefit of doubt.

Appeals

Decisions by TfL to refuse, suspend or revoke licences are appealable.  Through many successful appeals of TfL decisions, it is a clear that there is value in appealing a decision by TfL to refuse, suspend or revoke a licence.                         

Taxi Defence Barristers understand the distress of losing your licence, particularly if the process was not fair.  We take the time to fully investigate allegations and complaints to clearly establish the facts and evidence.  This meticulous approach often leads to success because it exposes the lack of willingness by TfL to actually investigate allegations. 

Fairness is a fundamental legal principle.  Licence holders have a right to be treated fairly and be given a fair trial.  Often, this is not reflected in the TfL investigation process. 

If you have had your TfL taxi or private hire (minicab) licence refused or revoked, speak to us today for a free case assessment.

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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