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Punitive Magistrates Find Exceptional Hardship Unsuccessful

Legal Advisor Encourages Appeal Following Unsuccessful Exceptional Hardship Application


At her hearing today at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court, our client Kylie Bannister told her barrister that she was disappointed by the magistrates’ decision not to allow her application for Exceptional Hardship.


In a case which demonstrates that not every Forrest Williams client achieves a favourable outcome at the first hearing, it is fair to say that there was a genuine feeling that today’s ruling called into question exactly how decisions regarding Exceptional Hardship applications – ie whether they are successful or not – are made.


Kylie had worked very closely with her case handler over several months, gradually building the strongest possible application. It was an investment of time as well as money because, for Kylie, there was such a lot at stake. By the end of the process, the volume of paperwork ready to be considered by the court, in support of Kylie’s application, was impressive.


If Kylie’s application was unsuccessful, she knew from the beginning that this meant she would be disqualified from driving for a period of 6 months. (She knew she had the right of appeal, but this would obviously incur further costs.) For Kylie, a disqualification would be extremely difficult to bear as she is employed within the publishing industry, on a freelance contract, and has to travel across the whole of the country, at short notice, to meet with clients and industry executives.


In addition, Kylie told us that she is essentially the breadwinner for her household as her partner is in lower-paid, temporary employment. Therefore, if she were to be disqualified from driving for 6 months, exceptional hardship would be suffered by her family, which includes 3 young children.


After hearing full evidence, the magistrates retired for 10 minutes to consider their verdict. Once they returned, they informed Kylie and her barrister that they had not found the test for Exceptional Hardship had been met.


In an interesting twist, however, the Legal Advisor strongly advised Kylie’s barrister immediately after the hearing that they ought to consider an appeal and apply to have her disqualification lifted pending the appeal.


From speaking to court staff, it became clear that no favourable decisions had been made during the whole of the day and that the magistrates’ approach towards all defendants was punitive, to say the least.


Forrest Williams are now discussing a possible appeal with Kylie, in the hope that when this application is re-considered in the Crown Court it will be allowed – and Kylie enabled to continue driving.


This case goes to show that Exceptional Hardship applications are not easy, or straightforward. While we can never guarantee a successful outcome, Forrest Williams always endeavour to prepare as fully as possible, and this is reflected in our very high success rates of well over 90%.  In the rare event that an application is not successful, we ensure that our clients are advised honestly about their right of appeal, additional fees and chances of success at the Crown Court. 


If you would like to discuss an Exceptional Hardship case, or any other motoring matter, with a dedicated legal team who will fight for you, call us now on 01623 397200.


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