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Exceptional Hardship

If you face a possible ban under the above 'totting up' provisions then we may still be able to help you to keep your licence or persuade the court to impose a shorter disqualification period by arguing 'exceptional hardship'. Almost every order of disqualification entails hardship for the person disqualified. For hardship to be “exceptional” it must be more than is normally suffered.

Loss of employment will be an inevitable consequence of a driving ban for many people nowadays. For the purposes of “exceptional hardship” loss of a job by itself is unlikely to satisfy the “exceptional” test.

Motoring Law Defence have a very high success rate at exceptional hardship arguments for the following reasons:

  • We take detailed instructions from our clients so that we can decide on the best arguments to put before the court.

  • We acknowledge that “hardship” is not confined to the hardship that the disqualification will cause to the person fighting to keep their licence. The court is more likely to be sympathetic to hardship arguments concerning innocent parties rather than the person facing disqualification and therefore we emphasise the potential difficulties facing such people. For instance where someone will lose their job if disqualified this will often have an effect on that person’s work colleagues, or employees, partner and children.

  • We believe that it is very important to back each point that is made before the court in an “exceptional hardship” hearing by documentation if possible. This could be for example a letter from the client’s employer to say that the person will lose their job if they are disqualified and the repercussions for that business. Our experienced barristers and solicitors are in the habit of passing up such documentation at the start of a hearing and then referring to the documents in question during the hearing itself. We aim for between three and five documents to be passed to the Magistrates in any one “exceptional hardship” hearing.

  • We explain the court procedure in detail to our clients so that they are totally familiar with what will be required of them before the hearing even takes place.

  • During an “exceptional hardship” argument the person trying to keep their licence will have to give sworn evidence. If that person has no solicitor before the court then most of the hearing will normally be taken up with the prosecutor asking them questions. If you use Motoring Law Defence then the “exceptional hardship” hearing will start with one of our skilled barristers or solicitors asking you questions in such a way as to emphasise to the Magistrates the strength of your arguments. Often we find that our barristers and solicitors are so comprehensive that they leave very little questions for the prosecutor to ask.

An exceptional hardship argument based on the same facts can only be used once in a three year period.

Case studies concerning exceptional hardship arguments

Case study 1.
Mrs M went before the Magistrates Court represented by ourselves and pleaded guilty to a matter of speeding where she had been driving at 42 MPH in a 30 MPH limit. She already had nine penalty points on her licence and the Magistrates imposed a further four penalty points bringing her total amount of points up to thirteen and therefore making her eligible for a disqualification under the penalty points system. Our barrister however successfully argued “exceptional hardship” on her behalf. Although there were many factors to this argument a major part of the argument concerned contact with her children. Her children lived separately from her with their father. It was put forward to the court that the contact that she has with those children would be reduced if she was disqualified and the children in turn would suffer.

Outcome
The Magistrates agreed that the children would incur “exceptional hardship” and Mrs M kept her licence


Case study 2.
Mr N pleaded guilty before the Magistrates Court to going through a red light. Three penalty points were imposed on his licence for this offence bringing his total number of penalty points up to twelve. Mr N was therefore eligible for disqualification under the penalty points system. Our solicitor explained to the Magistrates how without his licence Mr N would lose his job working as a telephone engineer seeing as driving is an integral part of this role. Motoring Law Defence produced for the Magistrates a detailed letter from Mr N’s employer stating that if Mr N lost his job then he would be very hard to replace and the business would suffer financially.

Outcome
The Magistrates found that if Mr N were disqualified then the business that he worked for would suffer “exceptional hardship” and therefore Mr N kept his licence.

 

Case study 3.
Mr W pleaded before the Magistrates to two matters of speeding. He received three penalty points for each of the two offences. This brought his total amount of penalty points up to twelve and made him eligible for disqualification under the points system. His solicitor from Motoring Law Defence argued on his behalf that as a self employed decorator Mr W’s licence is essential for his work. Documentation was passed up to the Magistrates to show the severe financial problems which Mr W and his family were already incurring. It was pointed out to the Magistrates that if Mr W could no longer carry out his work then he would fall behind with his mortgage payments and the property would be repossessed and his wife and child would suffer.

Outcome
The Magistrates found that if Mr W were disqualified his wife and child would suffer exceptional hardship and Mr W was allowed to keep his licence.

 

Case study 4.
Mrs MB appeared before the Magistrates and pleaded guilty to a matter of speeding. Mrs MB already had nine penalty points on her licence and the Magistrates imposed a further three penalty points bringing her total up to twelve. Motoring Law Defence argued exceptional hardship on behalf of Mrs MB pointing out that she works as a doctor and if she lost her licence she would not be able to visit patients in their houses as she had been doing and the patients would therefore suffer.

Outcome
The Magistrates found that if Mrs MB was disqualified from driving then her patients would suffer “exceptional hardship” and Mrs MB was therefore allowed to keep her licence.   

 

Case study 5.
Ms S had nine penalty points on her licence. She went before the Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to using her mobile phone. The Magistrates imposed three penalty points on her licence bringing her total amount of penalty points to twelve. Our solicitor argued “exceptional hardship” on her behalf pointing out that she suffers with ME and would have difficulty getting around without her car.

Outcome
The Magistrates found that if Ms S were disqualified then she would suffer exceptional hardship owing to her ME and her difficulties getting around. Ms S was allowed to keep her licence.

 

Representing clients throughout the South West at locations including:
Bath l Bristol l Chippenham l Swindon l Stroud l Salisbury
Taunton l Weston-Super-Mare l Yeovil