Exceptional Hardship

Penalty points are imposed when a motoring offence is committed. If 12 points are accrued in a 3 year period then the magistrates will have to consider disqualification. The only way to avoid disqualification once 12 points have been obtained is to ask the magistrates to consider exceptional hardship.

Exceptional hardship is an argument that can be used to ask the Magistrates to not impose a disqualification.  It requires you to prove to the Court that by imposing a disqualification you or someone who relies on you would be exceptionally hard done to.

Each case is considered on its merits and there is no law that says what exceptional hardship is.  It is up to the magistrates to decide if they are convinced of your argument.

Examples of exceptional hardship can be:

  • Loss of employment or business impacting on your employees
  • Loss of family home
  • Impact on your family i.e. elderly parents requiring your assistance and use of your vehicle.

Case Study 1

We represented a client who if disqualified would lose his job, he was a HGV driver and earned a good salary but worked long hours.  If he lost his job he would be unable to obtain another Job earning the same amount of money. This would have resulted in him being unable to meet the bills of the household and put the family at risk of having the home repossessed.  He had a wife and 3 children and he was the only earner.  The magistrates agreed that as there was a risk of losing the family home exceptional hardship did apply in this case and he was not disqualified.

Case Study 2

We represented a client who had accrued 12 penalty points and faced disqualification.

When he gave us instructions he did not believe he had any chance of saving his licence.

He did not require his licence for his job as he was unemployed and he lived alone.  His lifestyle would have not altered significantly.  However following several questions asked by Mr. Colville it transpired that he was a full time carer for his elderly parents.  They relied on him to do the daily shopping obtain medication and take them to medical appointments.  Furthermore he regularly travelled from his home address to his parent home in the middle of the night to assist if there were any problems.

Exceptional hardship was argued on the basis that the elderly parents would be hard done to, there was no one else available to help them and relying on care from social services may take weeks/months to sort out.  The magistrates agreed that the client played a fundamental role in ensuring his parents lived a satisfactory life and found that if he was disqualified they would be exceptionally hard done to.  As a result he was not disqualified.

The above 2 case studies show the diversity that’s available when trying to argue exceptional hardship.

Please contact us to discuss your case further.