Is Job Hunting Exceptional Hardship?
In Mansfield Magistrates’ Court this week, Steve Williams, of Forrest Williams, successfully conducted an Exceptional Hardship application for client Natalie Godber.
Natalie, who was in tears as the court’s decision was announced, thanked Steve profusely and asked that her sincere thanks be passed back to her case worker Tracy Johnson, who had fully prepared her case for court over a period of several months, during which time they had worked very closely together.
Natalie, who had worked as a Key Accounts Manager for a large company when she made her first call to Forrest Williams, explained that the majority of points (9 in total) were accrued over a period of 6 months, some two years ago, when she was going through a difficult period in her life which saw the ending of a long term relationship.
Although she knew that she could not offer excuses to the court, Natalie explained to her case worker that she had driven without incident for the last two years, before being caught speeding – doing 91mph in a 70mph limit. She said that this happened as a result of underestimating the power of the new car she was driving, which handled very differently to the car she had previously been driving.
The pre-existing 9 points meant that the most recent speeding offence had resulted in a summons to court under the ‘totting up’ provisions – and a likely 6 months’ disqualification from driving unless Natalie could convince the court that to disqualify her in this way would mean hardship of an exceptional nature would be experienced by either herself or those close to her.
Natalie’s case for Exceptional Hardship was built on the following facts. First of all, she clearly needed to maintain her driving licence in order to do her job, which involved travelling to stores based across a wide geographical area. Secondly, her husband could not meet their joint financial commitments on his wage alone. Thirdly, Natalie acted as driver for an elderly relative and no one else could cover this role if she were to be disqualified.
Unfortunately, not long before the hearing date Natalie lost her job. This was a worry to all concerned as it had been the primary reason for her Exceptional Hardship application. However, she was able to demonstrate to the court that she was applying for very similar roles and was being granted interviews. Clearly, she would not be able to take up the offer of any of these jobs without a driving licence.
Natalie was effectively given the opportunity by the court to continue with her job hunting and to hopefully secure the type of work she has experience of in the very near future.
For Natalie, contacting Forrest Williams and entrusting them with her case was, quite simply, life changing. Her tears in court said everything.
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