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Judge slams DVSA O-licence renewal guidance as "simply wrong"

  • 12 March 2014
  • By Chris Tindall

The Upper Tribunal has ordered the re-instatement of a haulier’s O-licence after finding there is confusion over when the renewal fee deadline actually falls.

The situation came to light in an appeal, which involved a licence being terminated by the Office of the Traffic Commissioners (OTC) after the continuation fee was not received by the deadline.

The appeal heard how standard international goods vehicle operator, Overbrook Recovery Services, had confused the ‘review date’shown on its O-licence, with the ‘prescribed time’, which is not.

The Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995, states that the five-yearly continuation fee must be paid within the prescribed time, or “the end of the month which precedes the date of expiry…”.Potentially this means there is a 30-day difference between the two dates.

In his written decision, Upper Tribunal Judge Michael Brodrick said the only way a haulier could be sure about when the first continuation fee should be paid “appears to be working it out from the definition in the 1995 [Act] or by asking the OTC”.

Judge Brodrick pointed out that the wording in the DVSA document GV74 was “simply wrong” and encouraged operators to rely on the date shown on the O-licence, which is not the correct one.

He added that the passage “should be removed or revised as a matter of urgency”.

Transport lawyer Christabel Hallas said: “I think that operators who are coming up to their first five yearly renewal are at the greatest risk. If, for any reason, the request is lost in the post or the person responsible for paying the fee is on leave, then, if they have relied on using the date on the operator’s licence, they will have missed the deadline and the licence will no longer be in force.”


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