S68 Suspension Notice, covering letter 4th January 2018 from GBC
Dear Mr Rostron
Suspension of Hackney Carriage HCV068
Section 68 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.
As you are aware, you were handed a notice of inspection and suspension under Section 68 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 (“the Act”) yesterday. It has come to my attention that the notice did not contain a time for further inspection. Please therefore find a replacement notice. The suspension comes into effect on receipt of this notice. Please also find enclosed a Notice under section 58 of the same Act requiring the return of your licence plates within 7 days. Copies of this letter and accompanying notices are also in the post to you.
Section 68 of the Act is clear that a vehicle licence may be suspended if an Authorised
Officer considers it to be unfit for use as a hackney carriage. As you are more than aware, Guildford Borough Council has adopted a Policy requiring that all hackney carriages be liveried by 1 January 2018 and all licences are issued with a condition requiring compliance with this livery requirement. The legality of the policy has never been challenged. As you are also aware, having represented the individual claimant, an individual appeal against the livery condition has been dismissed at the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts. Furthermore the Judicial Review against the Crown Court decision to refuse to state a case and allow further appeal has been considered and dismissed three times by different judges at the High Court. Whilst there may be a further appeal lodged with the Court of Appeal, the Council’s position is that this is not a challenge to the legality of the policy, or one which would provide you with grounds not to comply with the livery requirements.
You have been under notice, since the adoption of the policy in December 2015, that you would need to have your vehicle liveried by 1 January 2018 and have therefore had ample time to comply. You have also received a number of reminders about this requirement and deadline. The suspension can be lifted as soon as you present your liveried vehicle to the Council for inspection. If you wish to present your vehicle for inspection earlier that the time specified in the notice, please contact the Licensing Section to arrange a time.
Where a suspension notice is issued under s.68 there is no right of appeal against the suspension of the vehicle pending rectification of the matters identified in the notice. It is only if the licence is deemed to be revoked after the expiry of a 2 month period that a right of appeal arises under s.60(2) and (3). This is to be contrasted with a suspension under s.60, where there is a right of appeal.
The High Court has previously decided in the case of Wilcock v Lancaster City Council  EWHC 1231 (Admin) that there is no reason why s.68 should be confined to cases of unroadworthiness. The virtue of s.68 is that it provides a swift and summary process to deal with and rectify breaches of condition during the currency of the licence. The case confirms that S68 can be used to deal with a vehicle’s appearance and confirms that use of that section, as opposed to Section 60, is not disproportionate.
I am aware that you have sent in a number of emails of complaint since your vehicle was suspended. I do not propose to deal with the points you raise at this stage. These will be responded to during the course of any legal proceedings you choose to bring, or upon conclusion of any investigation under the Council’s complaints procedure; however I simply wish to confirm that the Council is acting lawfully using powers under Section 68 to suspend your vehicle licence. The Notice has been served by an Authorised Officer with delegated authority and as such your vehicle licence is now suspended.
As per our normal procedure, your operator and Surrey County Council Transport Contracts will be advised that your vehicle licence is suspended to ensure that they do not commit any offence by passing work to you whilst suspended.
I would advise you that it is an offence under section 45 of the Town Police Clauses Act to continue to use your hackney carriage whilst the licence is suspended. Similarly I would also recommend that you check with your insurance company as to whether they would cover you in the event of a claim arising from using a suspended vehicle to transport paying passengers.
I am concerned that you indicated yesterday that you would not comply with the notice of suspension. Please note that as well as having the right to prosecute in respect of any offences committed whilst the licence is suspended, the Council will also need to consider whether any disregard of licensing laws renders you unfit to continue to hold a driver’s licence.
Finally, I would strongly recommend that you seek proper legal advice and request that you keep any correspondence to the Council to the necessary minimum in order to ensure that the service is not delayed and able to respond to other licence holders and customers.
Licensing Team Leader