Burden of proof on authorities in taxi licensing revocation appeals: High Court

The High Court has ruled that the burden of proof in taxi licence revocation appeals is on the licensing authority to show that an individual is not a ‘fit and proper person’, it has been reported.

Mehrdad Kaivanpor has been seeking to have his taxi licence reinstated after a collision with a cyclist in May last year.

Brighton & Hove Council decided to revoke Kaivanpor’s hackney and private hire licences in August 2014.

This decision was upheld by Brighton Magistrates’ Court in October 2014. The council contended that it was up to the driver to show he was a ‘fit and proper person’ to be a taxi driver.

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Kaivanpor’s legal team, David Lewis-Hall of 1 Crown Office Row and Richard Schaverien of Quality Solicitors Howlett Clarke, argued that the High Court should depart from the previous decision of the High Court in Canterbury City Council v Ali [2013] EWHC 2360.

Lord Justice Beatson and Mr Justice Wilkie accepted their contention that the Court of Appeal’s decision in Muck IT Ltd v Merritt and others [2015] EWCA Civ 1124 – a case concerning licences for goods vehicles – should be followed.

According to 1COR, the High Court held that the Magistrates had erred in placing the burden on the taxi driver to satisfy them that he was a fit and proper person when considering the revocation of his licence for “any other reasonable cause” under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 s.61(1)(b).

The case has been remitted the matter to the Brighton Magistrates’ Court for a re-hearing.

Richard Schaverien, Consultant Solicitor at Howlett Clarke, said: “I am more than happy with the result we have achieved for Mehrdad Kaivanpor at Howlett Clarke, and even more delighted that, with the help of Crown Office Row, we have influenced the law for taxi drivers’ cases in the future.”

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