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Driver Disqualification under the Totting Up Provisions

Jun 14, 2016
Under the totting up rules, if you receive 12 or more penalty points within a three year period you will receive a mandatory driving disqualification for a minimum period of six months.

How to Succeed in Avoiding a Totting Up Disqualification?
The court can only take into account hardship that imposing a ban will cause if it can be classed as Exceptional Hardship. This means hardship that affects the licence holder in a way that goes beyond the usual hardship that a driving ban is intended to cause. For example in Brennan v McKay (1996) a taxi driver faced disqualification as a totter following a speeding conviction. He relied on the possibility of losing his job and suffering financial problems. The court accepted that he would likely suffer hardship but did not believe that this would be exceptional.  As a result he was left subject to the mandatory ban.

No strict rules exist as to what the court may take into account when deciding whether a driver would suffer exceptional hardship but in our experience the court is generally more concerned with the impact that the loss of your licence will have on those around you, rather than the hardship caused to you as an individual. It is important that comprehensive evidence is presented of the exceptional hardship to the court. Defence witnesses can be called and exhibits may be put before the court.

Examples of Exceptional Hardship might include:

Each case turns on its own facts but the following examples have been held to amount to exceptional hardship 

  • An impact on a dependent or family member who has serious health problems and/or a disability and relies on the driver for mobility
  • Any risk to the employment of third parties by the disqualification of the driver, such as a business owner or key person whose disqualification could disrupt the running of a business 
  • Loss of a job will not normally in itself qualify as exceptional hardship unless a convincing case can establish that the impact would be so exceptional as to warrant the exercise of the Magistrates’ discretion no to disqualify a driver. 


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