Agenda item

Application - Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence - Ref No: 11/23


The Director of Adult Social Care and Health Integration submitted an exempt report in connection with an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 11/23, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.


The Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed.  The applicant, who was in attendance at the meeting accompanied by a friend, verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report and understood its contents. 


The Licensing Manager presented a summary of the report, outlining that the applicant had been interviewed by a Licensing Enforcement Officer on 24 October 2023 in relation to the offence detailed at 1) in the report.  During the interview, the applicant provided an explanation in relation to the offence and confirmed that there were no other offences of which the Council was unaware.


The applicant had received an £800 fine and six points on his DVLA licence, resulting in his DVLA licence being revoked for three months, for the offence of driving without valid insurance.  The applicant had wanted to appeal the conviction to the Court but was unable to do so due to it happening during Covid.


The applicant confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts and was invited to address the Committee in support of his application. 


The applicant and his representative presented the case in support of the application and responded to questions from Members, the Licensing Manager and the Council’s Legal Representative.


It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the applicant, his representative and Officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Council’s Legal and Democratic Services, withdrew from the meeting whilst the Committee determined the application. 


Subsequently, all parties returned and the Chair announced a summary of the Committee’s decision and highlighted that the applicant would receive the full decision and reasons within five working days.


ORDERED that the application for Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref No: 11/23, be refused.


Authority to Act


1.     Under Section 51 of the Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1976 (“the Act”) the Committee may decide to grant a Private Hire Vehicle driver’s licence only if it was satisfied the driver was a fit and proper person to be granted such a licence.


2.     The Committee considered Section 51 of the Act, Middlesbrough Council’s Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Policy 2022 (“the Policy”), the report and representations made by the applicant and his representative.


3.      The application was considered on its own particular facts and on its merits.




4.     After carefully considering all the information, the Licensing Committee decided to refuse to grant the application for a Private Hire Vehicle driver’s licence on the grounds that the Committee was not satisfied the applicant was a fit and proper person to be granted the licence.  The reasons for the decision were as follows:-




5.     The Applicant was convicted of driving a vehicle without valid insurance on 1 August 2020 for which he received six penalty points, an £800 fine and his licence was suspended for three months, therefore, his licence was reinstated on 1 November 2020.


6.     The Policy was clear that if an applicant ‘s DVLA licence had an endorsement in respect of a major traffic offence, then the application would normally be refused until at least five years after the most recent conviction or restoration of their driving licence.  Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks was categorised as a major traffic offence under the Policy.


7.     The Committee considered this offence was serious as the vocation of a private hire driver required that passengers and other road users were protected through vehicles and drivers being insured at all times.


8.     The applicant told the Committee that it was a mistake at the time, that he renewed his insurance, but his bank rejected the payment, and he did not know this until he checked his emails when he was stopped by the Police.  The applicant stated he found an email from the insurance company stating it had cancelled the renewal as the money was not paid.  The Committee considered that the applicant would have been notified by the bank if it had stopped payments and/or if there was fraudulent activity and that he should have checked his insurance and made sure he was insured before driving a vehicle.


9.     Therefore, the Committee did not find any good or exceptional reason to depart from its Policy and decided that the licence should not be granted as the applicant could only demonstrate three years free of driving incidents instead of five.


10.  If the applicant was aggrieved by the decision, he may appeal to a Magistrates Court within 21 days from the date of the notice of the decision.  The local magistrates for the area was the Teesside Justice Centre, Teesside Magistrates, Victoria Square, Middlesbrough.


11.  If the applicant did appeal the decision and the appeal was dismissed by the Magistrates Court, the Council would claim its costs in defending its decision from the applicant which could be in the region of £1,000.

Supporting documents: