Accused taxi drivers to have licences revoked after High Court ruling

The council has been forced to change its policy after a High Court ruling.
The council has been forced to change its policy after a High Court ruling.

Taxi drivers who are accused of a serious offence will have their licence immediately revoked, under new rules.

Wakefield Council had previously suspended drivers' permits if an allegation was made against them, but the High Court has now ruled that the policy, which was also enforced by other authorities, is unlawful.

The verdict came in a landmark recent case against Cardiff City Council.

While drivers who are later cleared of wrongdoing have to apply to get their licence back, they will not be charged for doing so.

The ruling also applies to cabbies who have lost their licence for medical reasons, if they can provide a doctor's note which declares them fit to driver again.

Speaking at a council licensing committee meeting on Tuesday, licensing officer Kevin Straw said: "For a long time if it came to the council's attention that a driver had been subject to an allegation for, say violence or indecency, the licence would not be revoked with immediate effect. It would be suspended.

"Once the matter came to court and was dealt with then the council would consider the position again.

"Now that that's been ruled unlawful, we can't suspend a licence now.

"If there's a serious allegation, the only way forward we can go to protect public safety is to revoke it with immediate effect."

Mr Straw said that the council had been confronted with two recent cases where the practice would be used, including one where a driver was wrongly accused.

He added: "It may be that revoking the licence is not a sustainable position if new information later comes to light.

"There might be a malicious complaint or there's a medical condition that clears up - those are two examples we've had recently that I can think of.

"If that's the case it doesn't seem fair to make them go through the application process again.

"That said, I don't think it's going to be a process that will be used very often."