Court appearance for early return of license

Convicted Driver Insurance

Medicine Man

Well-known member
Hi all,

Been lurking for a while due to finishing university and getting a new job!

It has come to that time whereby I can appear at court to present my case in order for my license to be returned early. As it happens, I have gone past the 3 year mark which was earlier in the month however, I sent an email and a letter to the disqualifying court several months ago stating my case. A lot has changed since I was banned and I believe I have strong reasons for my license to be returned early - just started a new job, relying on lifts as I live in a rural area not serviced by public transport etc. so that isn’t the problem, it’s just getting through to the court. I’ve spoken to the front desk person who obviously won’t put me through to the listings department but so far I’ve not had any useful information apart from the usual please call back later.

I’ve not since heard anything from the court with regards to a hearing date and, even though I understand that courts are busy and listings take a while, several months is getting a bit ridiculous!

Has anyone any experience with this?

MM
 

price1367

TTC Group
I have never had experience of a court refusing to list a hearing for a restoration of a licence after disqualification. Well I soppose they are not refusing to list, just refusing to engage with you which amounts to the same thing....

There is a complaints procedure if you are not happy with the administration of a court, I have put the link below. I have also put a link to the actual complaints form to fill y should reply to this within 10 working days. Let us know how you get on, it may assist anyone else who ends up in the same situation.

Procedure leaflet:

https://assets.publishing.service.g...3545/contact-director-wales-hmcts-annex-a.pdf

Complaints form:

https://assets.publishing.service.g...ds/attachment_data/file/688123/ex343a-eng.pdf
 

Medicine Man

Well-known member
Thanks for that Price!

Bit of an update - I decided to give the court another call to see if it was just a Friday afternoon thing. Got through to a really helpful chap in the actual listings department who basically laid out how the whole process works which cleared a few things up.

As I sent my email to the general admin address, this then gets forwarded onto the legal department who check through it and decide whether or not there is a valid case. The chap also said that they scan through the reasons which you have given for the disqualification to be removed / reduced and see if they are ‘good enough’ to warrant an actual listing.

Once this has been done and assuming that all is OK, the case gets forwarded to the listings department who then put a date on it. As in my case I’ve moved around a lot since the original offence, make sure you put your current address somewhere obvious like on the first line as if it’s not abundantly clear where you live, they’ll just send the letter to the address where you were living, and I’ve read certainly one horror story on here about this!

As the court where I attended the original hearing was quite a busy court, the timeframe given was approximately 2-3 weeks from getting the go ahead from legal to getting your letter through the post depending how much they’ve got on. Less busy courts will naturally take less time.

Stemming from this, I decided not to send a complaint in and just wait it out since the guy told me that as the mistake was on their end (they lost the original email due to “IT upgrades”) they’ve fast tracked it and will be sending out the letter by the middle of next week!
 

Medicine Man

Well-known member
Update #2:

Just received an email yesterday from the court saying that my case has been listed in two weeks time! As the admin person who sent me the email copied the rest of the chain between departments, it looks like they simply forgot about the whole thing which makes me annoyed as it could have been done and dusted months ago!

Does anyone have any prior experience of the procedure on the day and what to expect, as I haven’t received a letter as such informing me officially of the situation and what actually happens. I’m aware of roughly what occurs when you’re in the room, ie. the email that I originally sent gets read out and then they ask you if you have anything to add then the Magistrates deliberate and make their decision. Also, will the police make an appearance as one of the replies in the email thread said that the ‘relevant prosecuting authority’ should be notified?

Should I be successful on the day, do I then send off the D1 form immediately then get a reply from the DVLA regarding my medical?
 

price1367

TTC Group
Some courts forward your application to the police for them to consider if they want to challenge the application.
As you say the court have said in an email that “the relevant prosecuting agency” should be notified, then I think you need to notify the police station where you were dealt with yourself straight away that you have made an application, the grounds for the application and the date of the hearing. They will then liase with the Crown Prosecution Service to see if an objection is going to be made at the time of the hearing.

When you attend court I would expect the magistrates to want you to present the reasons for your application yourself, rather than just read the email for themselves. They will then ask questions about the application and hear any objections from the CPS on behalf of the police. They then make their decision. This can be The immediate restoration of your licence (but as you say, subject to a satisfactory DVLA medical), a restoration on a specific date in the future or a refusal.
If it is immediate, you should wait a few days before you submit the application to DVLA, on a form D1 from the post office, to ensure that the court have had chance to notify them that you ban has been lifted.
i don’t agree with the court staff who said they check the application to see if it has any merit. You are ENTITLED to make an application to the magistrates where you were banned for a restoration of your licence once the appropriate minimum time has elapsed. Nowhere does it say “but only if a court clerk thinks there is any merit in your application......”
 
Convicted Driver Insurance

Medicine Man

Well-known member
Some courts forward your application to the police for them to consider if they want to challenge the application.
As you say the court have said in an email that “the relevant prosecuting agency” should be notified, then I think you need to notify the police station where you were dealt with yourself straight away that you have made an application, the grounds for the application and the date of the hearing. They will then liase with the Crown Prosecution Service to see if an objection is going to be made at the time of the hearing.

When you attend court I would expect the magistrates to want you to present the reasons for your application yourself, rather than just read the email for themselves. They will then ask questions about the application and hear any objections from the CPS on behalf of the police. They then make their decision. This can be The immediate restoration of your licence (but as you say, subject to a satisfactory DVLA medical), a restoration on a specific date in the future or a refusal.
If it is immediate, you should wait a few days before you submit the application to DVLA, on a form D1 from the post office, to ensure that the court have had chance to notify them that you ban has been lifted.
i don’t agree with the court staff who said they check the application to see if it has any merit. You are ENTITLED to make an application to the magistrates where you were banned for a restoration of your licence once the appropriate minimum time has elapsed. Nowhere does it say “but only if a court clerk thinks there is any merit in your application......”
Thanks once again Price!

Update #3:

My court hearing was today and I can now say that my disqualification has been removed with immediate effect! Here is a run-down of how it went:



  • I arrived at the court just over 30 minutes early dressed smartly in a suit and tie. After proceeding through the security metal detector things, I found the courtroom schedule and made myself known to the usher who was busy arranging the case before mine. She asked me to briefly give the reason I was attending a hearing, and I replied by asking where I would be sitting and if there was any other information that I would need to know beforehand - she only said that as I wasn’t attending a trial, I would be in the witness box and didn’t need to be nervous! There was a cafe in the court which served tea, coffee and food.
  • As I had about 25 minutes until my hearing, I decided to check out the layout of the courtroom from the public viewing gallery and to also see what the Magistrates were like. The layout of the court was as follows: there were 3 Magistrates sat at the back of the room, one head Magistrate and two secondaries, the clerk who was sat in front of them acted as the Master of Ceremonies so basically running the show, the CPS (a single representative) was sat in front of the clerk facing the Magistrates and finally a defence barrister who was only there for the case before mine. The witness box was right next to the clerk bench to one side. I observed all three Magistrates to be quite relaxed and gave off a good vibe which put me at ease somewhat!
  • Due to the fact that I was sat in view of the usher up in the gallery, once it was my time to go into the courtroom she signalled me to meet her at the entrance and then she led me in to the witness box. I took the oath and then the clerk started things off by asking me to confirm my full name, date of birth and current address. She read out that my hearing was to address the early removal of a disqualification according to Section 42(1) of the Road Traffic Offender’s Act 1988… (I could have recited this off-by-heart!) and that in support of my application, I had prepared a statement.
  • I read out my statement (did it a lot better than expected as adrenaline had kicked in by this time!).
  • At this point, the Magistrates asked the CPS whether they had anything to add. The CPS guy stood up and said that *insert name here* from *insert Police force here* had conducted a review of the case and had decided that there was no further response required (I had moved from the area shortly after the offence and had basically kept myself to myself). The head Magistrate thanked us both for our statements and all three of them withdrew from the microphone to discuss.
  • After what seemed about 20 minutes (probably only about a minute), all three of them returned and they proceeded to ask me various general questions, but nothing that I felt were difficult or caught me off-guard. They seemed to be genuinely interested about what I had done to change my behaviour since the offence occurred, what I had been studying previously and what exactly my job entailed. Also, I was asked whether or not I was offered the DDRS course (I was on the first offence but not the second) and whether or not I knew if I needed to do a medical subsequently, to which I replied that I had done much research on the matter and knew what the procedure was.
  • They all then withdrew again only for about 30 seconds or so and then returned. The head Magistrate then said that based on information discussed, they were prepared to remove my disqualification with immediate effect and that I was free to reapply for my license - they also said that they appreciated the fact that I had decided to make some drastic changes in my behaviour for the better and that I had expressed genuine remorse. The final thing from them was to ask the CPS if there was anything else they would like to add (nothing), and myself (I thanked them for their time and for the outcome) and they told the clerk to end the session at which point I left the room. Overall, I was in the courtroom for just under 10 minutes from start to finish.

So from what I’ve learnt over the past year and a bit, for anyone wanting to go down the road of applying for your disqualification to be removed early, I’d say the following:



  • Start preparing early and do your research - I started writing down all the information I could think of to support my case about 3 months before I sent off the original application, even if most of it wasn’t relevant. It enabled me to actually start piecing together what reasons I was going to give to the court to show that I had changed my behaviour. Most of the information I’ve found out has been a bit vague about what ‘solid reasons’ means, but from my situation, I said about how I required a licence for my job to make travel easier for other people and also I’m having to get lifts to work which meant putting other people out a lot. I also touched upon how I was in a bad situation when the offence occurred and how I had made a point of pretty much doing a U-turn out of the tunnel!
  • Make sure you apply to the right place and chase them up - once I had sent off my application, if I hadn’t have chased up the court listings department, then I probably wouldn’t have got a hearing when I did. Having said that, courts have different workloads so will obviously have different wait times for a hearing. It definitely pays off to be the annoying person on the end of the phone constantly asking about where you application is up to!
  • Don’t worry about it! I’d suggest going to have a scout out of things on the day to see how it all works - having been into the gallery and seen how the Magistrates handled the case before mine definitely helped to calm me down and remind me why I was there.

I hope this will give people some help towards their own experiences in the future and I will update once the medical has been confirmed and done!

MM
 
Last edited:

price1367

TTC Group
That is a great walkthrough of what happened, and good advice on preparation. Good luck on the medical!
 

TipsyNurse

Well-known member
Fantastic walk through, thank you.

The only thing I would add is that court admin staff are not legally trained and, as in this case, not legally correct. As I think you can guess if you make an application under S42 then a court should decide whether it is "good enough" or not. The court shouldn't delay listing a case because the admin staff all fancy a read.

Unfortunately you won't be the first or person to get incorrect legal advice from court admin staff.

In your case it appears more likely it just fell down the back of someone's desk, which is just as an important point... just because someone in HMCTS says you are in the queue, don't think you should stop chasing!

On a more positive note that you are correct that magistrates aren't there to catch you out. They tend to look to see that you have genuinely moved on in your life, and have taken discrete actions to ensure it will never happen again, That said, it is certainly worth preparing, because there is always the risk your mind will go blank at the crucial time.

Well done and enjoy getting the licence through the post!
 

techra

Active member
MM

OOPS that post went too early ! Your information was really helpful and give me hope that I too may be able to apply for an early removal. Can i ask how long the ban was for and how early you were able to apply for consideration. I am just starting to do the research, but have radically changed my behaviour and would really appreciate any advice or guidance about how you put together the form. As I too live in a rural area and have dependent responsibilities ( and previously held a clean driving licence) I am hoping they may be consider the option. Techra
 
Convicted Driver Insurance

Medicine Man

Well-known member
Hi techra!

That’s good to hear that you found my experiences useful and that you are considering applying to the courts - my original disqualification was 42 months and I could apply for a reduction after 24 months. However, due to not needing my licence immediately, I only applied to the court after 2.5 years had been served and it took a good few months from start to finish for a total reduction of 4 months.

The way I approached the initial email to the court was to lay out what situation I was in when the offence took place, what I had done subsequently to address my behaviour whether it be changing my alcohol consumption, or engaging more with friends and family and finally how getting my licence back early would benefit other people, not just myself. The key thing is to show genuine remorse about your previous actions and also show how you have actively changed your behaviour for the better.

The process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months so be prepared for the fact that it isn’t an overnight thing and depending on whether or not you were classed as an HRO, you will have to go through the medical.

If there’s anything else which you need help with, feel free to private message me!

MM
 

rufus

Well-known member
Great post MM - so glad you were able to convince the court and to do it all yourself with no solicitor etc was a fantastic result - was the DVLA not involved in this, was it was purely a court decision to reduce your ban and return your license ?
 

Medicine Man

Well-known member
Hi rufus,

Thanks for reading - I hope you find it useful in the future!

The decision is purely the court’s and the DVLA only find out about the fact that your license has been returned a day or two after the court date. I dealt with the DVLA very little afterwards, only really to call them up to find out where my application was up to following on from returning the D1 form.

MM
 

KatyKa

Member
Thanks once again Price!

Update #3:

My court hearing was today and I can now say that my disqualification has been removed with immediate effect! Here is a run-down of how it went:




  • I arrived at the court just over 30 minutes early dressed smartly in a suit and tie. After proceeding through the security metal detector things, I found the courtroom schedule and made myself known to the usher who was busy arranging the case before mine. She asked me to briefly give the reason I was attending a hearing, and I replied by asking where I would be sitting and if there was any other information that I would need to know beforehand - she only said that as I wasn’t attending a trial, I would be in the witness box and didn’t need to be nervous! There was a cafe in the court which served tea, coffee and food.
  • As I had about 25 minutes until my hearing, I decided to check out the layout of the courtroom from the public viewing gallery and to also see what the Magistrates were like. The layout of the court was as follows: there were 3 Magistrates sat at the back of the room, one head Magistrate and two secondaries, the clerk who was sat in front of them acted as the Master of Ceremonies so basically running the show, the CPS (a single representative) was sat in front of the clerk facing the Magistrates and finally a defence barrister who was only there for the case before mine. The witness box was right next to the clerk bench to one side. I observed all three Magistrates to be quite relaxed and gave off a good vibe which put me at ease somewhat!
  • Due to the fact that I was sat in view of the usher up in the gallery, once it was my time to go into the courtroom she signalled me to meet her at the entrance and then she led me in to the witness box. I took the oath and then the clerk started things off by asking me to confirm my full name, date of birth and current address. She read out that my hearing was to address the early removal of a disqualification according to Section 42(1) of the Road Traffic Offender’s Act 1988… (I could have recited this off-by-heart!) and that in support of my application, I had prepared a statement.
  • I read out my statement (did it a lot better than expected as adrenaline had kicked in by this time!).
  • At this point, the Magistrates asked the CPS whether they had anything to add. The CPS guy stood up and said that *insert name here* from *insert Police force here* had conducted a review of the case and had decided that there was no further response required (I had moved from the area shortly after the offence and had basically kept myself to myself). The head Magistrate thanked us both for our statements and all three of them withdrew from the microphone to discuss.
  • After what seemed about 20 minutes (probably only about a minute), all three of them returned and they proceeded to ask me various general questions, but nothing that I felt were difficult or caught me off-guard. They seemed to be genuinely interested about what I had done to change my behaviour since the offence occurred, what I had been studying previously and what exactly my job entailed. Also, I was asked whether or not I was offered the DDRS course (I was on the first offence but not the second) and whether or not I knew if I needed to do a medical subsequently, to which I replied that I had done much research on the matter and knew what the procedure was.
  • They all then withdrew again only for about 30 seconds or so and then returned. The head Magistrate then said that based on information discussed, they were prepared to remove my disqualification with immediate effect and that I was free to reapply for my license - they also said that they appreciated the fact that I had decided to make some drastic changes in my behaviour for the better and that I had expressed genuine remorse. The final thing from them was to ask the CPS if there was anything else they would like to add (nothing), and myself (I thanked them for their time and for the outcome) and they told the clerk to end the session at which point I left the room. Overall, I was in the courtroom for just under 10 minutes from start to finish.

So from what I’ve learnt over the past year and a bit, for anyone wanting to go down the road of applying for your disqualification to be removed early, I’d say the following:



  • Start preparing early and do your research - I started writing down all the information I could think of to support my case about 3 months before I sent off the original application, even if most of it wasn’t relevant. It enabled me to actually start piecing together what reasons I was going to give to the court to show that I had changed my behaviour. Most of the information I’ve found out has been a bit vague about what ‘solid reasons’ means, but from my situation, I said about how I required a licence for my job to make travel easier for other people and also I’m having to get lifts to work which meant putting other people out a lot. I also touched upon how I was in a bad situation when the offence occurred and how I had made a point of pretty much doing a U-turn out of the tunnel!
  • Make sure you apply to the right place and chase them up - once I had sent off my application, if I hadn’t have chased up the court listings department, then I probably wouldn’t have got a hearing when I did. Having said that, courts have different workloads so will obviously have different wait times for a hearing. It definitely pays off to be the annoying person on the end of the phone constantly asking about where you application is up to!
  • Don’t worry about it! I’d suggest going to have a scout out of things on the day to see how it all works - having been into the gallery and seen how the Magistrates handled the case before mine definitely helped to calm me down and remind me why I was there.

I hope this will give people some help towards their own experiences in the future and I will update once the medical has been confirmed and done!

MM
 

KatyKa

Member
Wonderful to read your account of the Magistrates hearing. I am so pleased that you were successful and that you put the case yourself without recourse to a solicitor. I am about to embark on a similar appeal to the Magistrates after having my licence revoked on medical evidence despite having previously completed 2 years incident free driving and remaining alcohol free for approx 3years. In my case the original ban was for 18months in 2005!!! I couldn't afford to get my licence back then and only re-applied in 2016 so had no idea about having to remain abstinent! Anyway, the point for me is that the process is fairly straight forward and does not require a solicitor. That is such a relief. I am so grateful to this forum, to you MM and to the others who have contributed as there is so little information - even CAB struggled to advise in my situation. Many thanks to you all.

For those who may be in a similar situation, this is where I am so far:
Held a driving licence from 1982 but was convicted of drink driving in March 2005 when I was way over the limit and was banned for 2 years from June of that year but took the Alcohol Awareness course which reduced the ban to 18 months.
I too live in a very rural area and had managed to overturn my car by driving into a fallen hay bale at the side of the road very late one night. No one else was involved. I was in the throes of a deep depression and on long term sick leave from work. In fact I never managed to return to full time work and therefore could not afford to reapply for my licence when the 18 month ban expired, let alone buy and run a car.
After more than 10 years, I reached the age of 60 and, although women my age can no longer get Retirement Pension at 60, I became entitled to my Occupational Pension Lump Sum Payment which meant I could afford to re-apply for my licence.
However, in the meantime I had contracted osteoporosis (brittle bones!) and suffered a severe fracture to my right thigh in August 2015 with complications that almost cost me my life - partly attributable to alcohol consumption - and I spent 10 weeks in hospital, the first 10 days in a coma. I was on the mend and receiving physiotherapy when another fracture occurred this time to my left shin and knee with a much shorter stay in hospital. I'm now well on the mend and have moved into a bungalow suitable for people with mobility problems but I still have great difficulty walking.
From August 2015 until Jan 2018 I did not touch a drop of alcohol, having been advised to stop by the medical team.
I therefore had no problem satisfying the DVLA Medical Test on getting a licence for 1 year from June 2016 to June 2017. The subsequent 1 year licence was awarded without attending for a Medical Test, just on the information submitted by me and that of my GP as at this time I remained abstinent, this licence taking me up to June 2018. I completed my submission for the next licence, fully expecting a longer term than 1 year and was eventually called for a Medical in November 2018. Time passed and I continued to drive, wondering what was taking so long and on 14th March 2019 I received a disallowance notice!!! I was stunned. The problem of course was that I had resumed having a glass of wine in the evening. I had no Idea I had to remain completely abstinent, I'd never heard of such a requirement and neither had my doctor. I'd made no secret of the fact and my GP was quite sure that I was and am competent to drive.
I appealed to the DVLA, as they suggest and have been turned down on the grounds that I do not meet their current criteria.
I stopped drinking altogether the day I received the DVLA decision and will never drink again, nor would I have done had I any idea of these dire consequences. My CDT reading turned out to be 2.2 at the test in November, not exactly danger level, ut obviously enough.
My next step, and it will now be imminent, is to appeal to the Magistrate. I'll let you know what happens.
 
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