The law on vehicles available for hire dates back to the 1800’s and as a result can be somewhat complicated. Whilst there have been several amendments, the law is often accused of being outdated as the original provisions were not even intended for motor vehicles.
A variety of licences exist for vehicles and individuals who wish to carry passengers as a business. Vehicles are divided into two main types – Hackney Carriages (commonly referred to as Taxis) and Private Hire Vehicles. Hackneys are permitted to pick up passengers who hail them in the street, but private hire vehicles are only permitted to collect people who have pre-booked through an office, which must also be licensed.
Before a Council can issue a licence to an individual, they must determine whether that person is a ‘fit and proper person’ to drive. This includes both physical ability and whether they have a criminal record.
For vehicles, there are differing specifications throughout the country and it is best to check with the local authority as to what their requirements are before making a purchase. Many authorities also limit the number of vehicle plates that are in force at any one time.
Our licensing solicitors can assist by representing drivers in front of local authority panels or in the Magistrates’ Court if a licence is refused or enforcement action is taken against a licence holder.