To determine a private hire vehicle licence.
The Enforcement Officer gave a summary of the report. The driver had previously been working for Happicabs but was no longer working for them and the authority had no knowledge that he was working for any other firm. The driver had been contacted by the authority as he had failed to renew his driver’s licence and had had his badge confiscated, before he drove off in his private hire vehicle. The driver had failed to attend two interviews with officers, and so his private hire vehicle licence had been brought to the panel for consideration by members.
RESOLVED to revoke the driver’s private hire vehicle licence.
The application before the Panel today is for the revocation of the driver’s private hire vehicle licence number 99 under S61 (1) (c) Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.- any other reasonable cause. The vehicle was first licensed by UDC on 2nd January 2017. The driver’s joint PHV/hackney carriage driver’s licence no PH/HC3226 expired on 30th June 2019 and his last lawful driving role was with Happicabs.
The driver’s drivers licence was issued for a period of six months only due to his immigration status. He was notified by email of 1st July 2019 of the steps he needed to take in order to renew this, and among other things, he was required to produce specific documentation evidencing his right to work. In response to this he arranged an appointment with the Licensing Officer for 4th July, which he failed to attend. Instead, he appeared at the Council Offices unannounced the following day, without the necessary documentation, and accordingly the member of the Licensing Dept staff he saw took his badge from him. However, he then drove off in the Zafira license plate no 99 and was seen by that staff member to do so.
Our attention has been drawn to the 1997 decision of the Divisional Court in Benson v Boyce RTR266;  EWHC 35, per Mance J (as he then was)
“….There is no suggestion in the present case that the relevant vehicle was a hackney carriage anywhere, and the vehicle was being driven in the controlled district where it was both licensed and used characteristically as a private hire vehicle.
I consider that the correct interpretation of S46(1) (b) [of the 1976 Act] is that it applies to all driving in a controlled district of a vehicle characterised under S80(1) as a private hire vehicle, whatever the specific activity in connection with which the vehicle is in fact being driven”
We add that the S46(1)(b) referred to by his Lordship is S46(1)(b) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, which makes the driving of a licensed PHV vehicle without a PHV drivers’ licence an offence, for which the penalty is a fine of up to £1000 on conviction. We also understand that historically, there was a practice of granting PHV drivers’ spouses a limited licence so that the vehicle could be used as the family car, but these days the level of car ownership is such that this is rarely needed.
The driver has twice failed to attend for interview under caution and we understand that the matter is likely to be referred to Legal Services for prosecution.
We therefore have no alternative, taking into account all the circumstances, but to revoke the PHV licence for NU64 VHM. The driver is not prevented from applying to relicense the vehicle or from working as a driver and thereby earning a living provided the trinity of licenses – driver, operator and vehicle, all issued by the same authority are in place. The revocation has immediate effect so the vehicle may be legally driven.
The driver has a right of appeal to the Magistrates Court against this decision, exercisable within 21 days, and he will receive a letter from the Legal Department explaining this.