Appeals and Taxi Licence Appeals
If you have been convicted of an offence by the Magistrates’ Court you have an automatic right to appeal to the Crown Court. Appeals are heard by a Crown Court Judge and two Magistrates. They are conducted in the same manner as a trial before the Magistrates’ Court and entail a rehearing of all the evidence. Therefore, a conviction and potential disqualification by the Magistrates’ Court need not be the end of the line.
For example, Mr A appealed before Derby Crown Court against his conviction for drink driving. He had provided a positive breath sample at the police station but after initially refusing the chance of a blood test, he changed his mind. The police did not give him a second chance. On appeal, one of our barristers successfully argued that this was against the spirit of the law and that therefore the evidence of his positive test was not admissible. The appeal was successful and Mr A kept his licence.
Even if you have already been convicted of a motoring offence, securing representation of one of our specialist lawyers may yet lead to the retention of your licence. However, there are strict time limits in relation to appealing convictions so if you think you may have a case, contact one of our barristers today.
Taxi Licence Appeals
Many taxi drivers want to know is whether certain licensing authority penalties are worth appealing? This problem is most acute on the issue of licence suspension which can have a huge impact on a driver’s ability to earn a living.
One genuine example that we have been given is that of a taxi driver who contacted his licensing authority to report a low level criminal offence. He had hoped for nothing more than a warning but instead received a suspension of his licence of a fortnight.
This penalty seemed very harsh as it meant he was unable to work and significantly, unable to earn for that period.
So should you appeal? And if so how?
You have 21 days in which to decide and our advice is that the merits of an appeal can be so fact specific that you should give us a call! We don’t charge for this call and it’s better to get peace of mind.
As a guide there are 5 factors that are of general importance in all cases:
1. Sanction Appeal
Unless the issue is safety and requires an immediate sanction suspension does not come into effect until 21 days have expired and if you choose to appeal it will not imposed until the conclusion of the same.
Unfortunately if you want to appeal there is an imposed cost of issuing – £200. This is fee that the Court imposes therefore we have no control over it. In addition there is also the cost of representation to assist you in presentation of your case.
The good news is that both of these costs are recoverable from the other side if you are successful.
It is very difficult to say how long it will take for your appeal to be dealt with as it very much depends on the court you’re appealing to. As a rough guide, we anticipate that your case will be heard within 3 weeks.
4. A re-hearing not a review
It’s important to remember that appeals to the Magistrates Court are a re-hearing, not a review. The Magistrate can come to a completely different decision on a completely different basis. It therefore comes down to the strength of your case.
On that basis, a procedural flaw in process would not necessarily guarantee you success on appeal. Conversely, neither do you need the licensing committee to have got it legally wrong.
The difference with a Magistrates Court is that they will look at the case afresh. Because Magistrates are used to formal rules of evidence they are less likely to attach weight to police intelligence or unproven allegations. The instinct of a Magistrate is to interpret rules of natural justice generously in favour of the appellant. This will therefore go in your favour!
5. Considerations for hard working appellants
Experience tells us that Magistrates can take a sympathetic approach to these types of cases where the appellant is a hard working man or woman. They don’t generally want to be the people stopping you from earning a living.
Assessing the strength of your case
So, the answer to the question “is it worth it?” depends on a balancing of all those factors.
We can help with the key consideration of how strong your case is. Therefore, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us as soon as you encounter this problem.