“Exceptional Hardship” Arguments

If a convicted driver is at risk of being disqualified from driving, they can ask the Court to consider whether or not the disqualification would cause exceptional hardship. This applies whether the driver is at risk of an immediate disqualification, or has more than 12 points on his licence and is at risk under the totting up provisions.

Exceptional hardship must not be confused with special reasons arguments. The Court is only considering the consequences and impact of disqualifying the defendant from driving, not the circumstance of the motoring offence itself.

The primary concern for the Court in any exceptional hardship application will be the effects of the driving ban on innocent third parties. For example, if the defendant is the primary carer for an elderly relative, and there are no other ways to take that relative to regular medical appointments, the Court may feel that banning the driver would have a disproportionate effect on the relative.

The Court can still find exceptional hardship if only the defendant is impacted by the ban, but there is less sympathy for an individual who commits motoring offences when their livelihood is reliant on their ability to drive.

A driver who successfully argues that they would suffer exceptional hardship cannot make the same argument, based on the same issues, within 3 years.

It is important to understand that even if an exceptional hardship argument is accepted by the Court, the defendant is still convicted of the offence. This may still cause significant hardship, such as increased insurance premiums.

If you are facing a Court appearance for a driving offence, and need further information about whether you may be able to argue that you face exceptional hardship, contact us and we can recommend a suitable motoring specialist to advise you.

Unfortunately due to the Legal Aid system, it is very difficult to secure public funding (legal aid) for an exceptional hardship argument. This is because the Legal Aid Agency do not accept that a technical argument and explanation of evidence justifies public expense. However, we can discuss competitive private rates or fixed fees for these cases by using either a solicitor or a direct access barrister.

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