Duke Disqualified From Driving Despite Arguing Exceptional Hardship Not To Be Disqualified

Duke Disqualified From Driving Despite Arguing Exceptional Hardship Not To Be Disqualified

Can you avoid the 6-month disqualification from driving having accumulated 12 penalty points on your licence?

Lucinda Dore Solicitors have assisted many clients to successfully argue Exceptional Hardship before the courts to avoid a disqualification where they have accumulated 12 or more penalty points on their licence.

Our experienced road traffic solicitors also receive many calls from people who have lost their arguments before the court, not fully appreciating the level of preparation required in these cases and having tried to attend court unrepresented to make the argument. 

Lucinda Dore road traffic solicitors have been assisting clients to make totting up exceptional hardship applications before the court for over 20 years and have noticed that the courts are becoming increasingly strict in allowing these applications, perhaps as a result of the higher speeding detections with up to date speed camera technology or as a result of the recent change in the law increasing mobile phone offences, which will result in a driver receiving 6 penalty points and a large step closer to quickly reaching the 12 point totting limit, but either way, there is no doubt that exceptional hardship arguments having totted up 12 penalty points on your licence are becoming more difficult to make.

Even the Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk, Lord Edward Fitzaland-Howard lost his Exceptional Hardship argument. Having pleaded guilty at Lavender Hill Magistrates' Court in London to using his mobile phone behind the wheel, the court heard that he had already totted up nine penalty points on his driving licence from two previous speeding offences in 2019, meaning a further six would lead to a ban. The Duke argued he would suffer exceptional hardship if he was disqualified, highlighting his official duties. He organised the Queen's funeral and highlighted his need for his licence to arrange the King's upcoming coronation. In his exceptional hardship argument, he told magistrates his office and local railway station are four miles away from his home in Arundel Castle, and it would lead to the loss of jobs for up to 30 of his employees were he to lose his licence. He also said he has the financial means to hire a driver, but “it is almost impossible to have enough drivers to carry out this task of getting me to the right place”. However, the magistrates refused his exceptional hardship application, banning him from driving for six months on the basis that although the court accepted his unique case due to his role in society and on the King's coronation and his loss of licence would cause inconvenience, the hardship needs to be ‘exceptional’. They did not find this being the case. 

The law stipulates that Exceptional Hardship must only be found in ‘exceptional’ cases and must be more than the hardship that most drivers will obviously suffer if disqualified. Many drivers may risk losing their job if disqualified but this is often not enough. Magistrates and Judges will usually only find Exceptional Hardship if a loss of licence will affect others (such as colleagues or family members) if they are disqualified. For example, if the driver cares for someone who cannot drive and requires it to function, for reasons such as disabilities and health conditions; and putting other jobs at risk that could damage a company. They also look at the broad picture and further consequences that losing a driving licence might cause, such as the loss of a house in the future.

In the case of the Duke, as mentioned above, the court would have considered certain factors such as his need to drive, his argument regarding his work commitments and how being banned would affect other people who work for him. As known, and admitted by himself, having the financial means to hire a driver to continue to carry out his official duties, makes it difficult to argue for exceptional hardship, due to his ability to still being able to carry out his official duties; and we must add, due to the intrinsic nature of his work. The best way to illustrate this would be the example of a lorry driver who transports goods between premises, or a driver who goes to different sites fulfilling a company service, and how banning that driver would impact the company and all the other employees.

If you are at risk of Totting Up 12 or more penalty points and wish to argue exceptional hardship before the court, get in touch with us early and well in advance of your court hearing to ensure you are well prepared. Lucinda Dore Solicitors are road traffic defence specialists. We can assist any driver who wishes to argue Exceptional Hardship. We can put the court on notice of your intention of making such a plea, prepare your case for you, provide advocacy at the court hearing and, if necessary, obtain any witness statements required to assist with your case. Call us on 03332420691, complete our online contact form or email your enquiry to lucinda@ldlegalservices.co.uk.