Suspension of a PHV licence
Reigate Borough Council v Pawlowski  EWHC 1764
The suspension of a PHV licence (s. 61 LGMPA 1976) may not be used as a ‘holding exercise’, pending consideration of whether a ground is subsequently made out for the final determination of suspension/revocation. There is no power for temporary suspension pending a final decision. Singh v Cardiff City Council  EWHC 1852 (Admin) applied.
The court disapproved of what it described as the “ fairly widespread practice” of licensing authorities suspending a driver’s PHV licence when it was informed that the driver had been charged (but not yet tried) with a criminal offence which, if a conviction followed, would merit revocation. It held: “… a council cannot lawfully suspend by reason of a criminal charge on a ‘wait and see’ basis.”
The judge said: “suspension will rarely be the appropriate course where a driver is charged with a matter for which, if convicted, he would be subject to revocation of his licence. If such a charge merits action, and if the action is not by way of an [unlawful] interim measure pending determination of the facts at criminal trial, revocation will generally be the appropriate course.”
If the circumstances obtaining at the time of the charge (or other allegation of wrongdoing) merit suspension of the licence ‘there and then’, it is still possible for facts emerging in the course of the criminal trial to put a different complexion on the matter and merit revocation in subsequent proceedings under section 61.
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