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News and Events

Driving Disqualifications: What is 'exceptional hardship'?

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Today the BBC has published that there are over “10, 000 motorists legally driving on British roads last month, despite having excessive points” and that one West Yorkshire driver “clocked up 62 points on his licence is still being allowed to drive”.

Usually, drivers who attract 12 or more penalty points over a three year period are disqualified from driving by Magistrates’ under ‘totting up’ provisions which usually results in a driving ban of up to 6 months unless drivers can demonstrate exceptional hardship.  Cases of exceptional hardship are considered on a case by case basis.  Exceptional hardship does not mean that you will lose your job, although they argument may be stronger if you may become bankrupt or default on mortgage payments as a result. 

In an exceptional hardship argument, Magistrates are obliged to consider the effects of a period of disqualification on ‘innocent’ parties.  These could be family members who require you to keep your licence to ensure they can attend critical medical appointments or employees who will lose their jobs if you are unable to drive.

It is only possible to use an exceptional hardship mitigation once in every three year period but you cannot reuse the reason for the hardship.

If the argument for exceptional hardship is successful, the Magistrates can either reduce the mandatory period of disqualification or make no disqualification at all. 

Remember ordinary hardship is not enough, the test of exceptional hardship is getting greater and at Minton Morrill, we have a team of Road Traffic Law experts who are able to advise you on the totting up process as well exceptional hardship. 

We can also help you if you have unsuccessfully raised an exceptional hardship argument in the Magistrates Court as we can advise you whether you have grounds to appeal to the Crown Court.  Our Road Traffic Law expert, Philip Goldberg has recently been praised by a Crown Court Judge in his successful appeal of a driving disqualification imposed by Bradford Magistrates Court putting “an end to his sleepless nights” as he can stop worrying about the future of his employees and his business.

Case Studies

R v A

Business man keeps his licence

This client’s wife is a Legal Advisor at out local court with over 25 years experience. She recommended he instruct Mr. Goldberg when he risked losing his licence. As a director of a family business and instrumental in the businesses sales performance had he lost his licence employees faces job losses and the family themselves risked severe financial hardship especially as both children of the family were at important stages of their education at a privately paid school. Mr. Goldberg initially had to deal with the conflict position of the client appearing before Court’s where his wife works and then advance arguments why exceptional hardship exists and why he should not be disqualified. The client was successful in his application and although he now has in excess of 12 points on his licence he was not disqualified and so did not suffer the consequences that this would bring.


R v C

Philip Goldberg praised by the Crown Court Judge in his successful appeal of a driving disqualification imposed by Bradford Magistrates Court putting “an end to his sleepless nights” as he can stop worrying about the future of his employees and his business.

Philip Goldberg was instructed to represent a client for an appeal against a driving disqualification imposed before the Magistrates Court. The driver had been travelling on a motorway at 93 mph but already had 9 points on his license. Despite advancing arguments at the initial court hearing he was disqualified from driving for 6 months.

Immediately we applied successfully pending appeal to suspend the disqualification. We then embarked on a detailed analysis of the issues and arguments before preparing a court bundle which exceeded 125 pages. In brief the argument was that the client was the Managing Director of a small family run business and he was responsible for just over 50% of the sales which meant he travelled over 27,000 miles per year. 10 other employees relied upon him for their employment and not only was there a risk to jobs but also the collapse of the company itself.  The loss of the licence would have been devastating for him and those he employed.


R v C

Philip Goldberg represents under 19 rugby league international player for Road Traffic Offences

Philip Goldberg was recommended to this client by a former client. The new Client is a 17 year old under 19 rugby league international. Having recently passed his driving test his club was able to alter his development programme for the up and coming season.  Unfortunately soon after he had passed his test he received in the space of 5 days 5 speeding tickets. This was likely to end with a driving disqualification of at least 6 months. This would have derailed his development programme and effected his career. Tactical decisions were made and we were able to manipulate the court hearing to coincide with the end of the season. With a number of witnesses which included a detailed description of his training schedule, arguments were advanced which resulted in the client receiving a 4 week disqualification. This had the result of not interfering with his training as the off season meant he did not have to travel. In addition as a probationary driving license holder his short disqualification meant his license was returned to him and not revoked so he did not need to re-sit his driving test.