Quentin was instructed on behalf of Transport for London in respect of the prosecution of three taxi drivers who were operating in London without the relevant licences.
The prosecutions were for accepting a private hire booking when not a licensed private hire operator (s.2 Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998), working as a private hire driver without a private hire driver’s licence (s.12 Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998), using a vehicle for private hire purposes when not the holder of a private hire vehicle licence (s.6 Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998), touting (s.167 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994) and driving without the requisite motor vehicle insurance (s.143 Road Traffic Act 1988). At the Marylebone Magistrates Court the three divers entered guilty pleas for all offences. Fines totalling £2,520 were handed down with penalty points endorsements as well as in one case a 12 month driving ban.
Below is a review of the relevant law that is applicable to this type of criminality:
ILLEGALLY ACCEPTING A BOOKING – section 2 Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998
Section 2 of the PHV (London) Act 1998 states:
2.— Requirement for London operator's licence.
(1) No person shall in London make provision for the invitation or acceptance of, or accept, private hire bookings unless he is the holder of a private hire vehicle operator's licence for London (in this Act referred to as a “London PHV operator's licence”).
(2) A person who makes provision for the invitation or acceptance of private hire bookings, or who accepts such a booking, in contravention of this section is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.
When an unlicenced driver takes a passenger for an agreed fee it constitutes the acceptance of a booking for the purposes of section 2 and the driver is guilty under the section.
NO VEHICLE LICENCE – section 6 Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998
“6.— Requirement for private hire vehicle licence.
(1) A vehicle shall not be used as a private hire vehicle on a road in London unless a private hire vehicle licence is in force for that vehicle.
(2) The driver and operator of a vehicle used in contravention of this section are each guilty of an offence
(5) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale”
Where a vehicle itself is being used as a private hire vehicle and it is unlicenced or the licence has expired then the driver is in breach of the section.
NO PH DRIVERS LICENCE – section 12 Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998
“12.— Requirement for private hire vehicle driver's licence.
(1) No vehicle shall be used as a private hire vehicle on a road in London unless the driver holds a private hire vehicle driver's licence.
(2) The driver and operator of a vehicle used in contravention of this section are each guilty of an offence.
(5) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale..”
Where a driver is undertaking work as taxi driver and has no private hire vehicle driver’s licence he is in breach of this section.
TOUTING – section 167 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
Section 167 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
167. — Touting for hire car services.E+W
(1)Subject to the following provisions, it is an offence, in a public place, to solicit persons to hire vehicles to carry them as passengers.
If a driver approaches a member of the public on a public road and asks them if they want a minicab this is taxi touting. If the defendant for example then agrees to take a person to an agreed destination for an agreed fee they will be in breach of this section.
NO INSURANCE – section 143 Road Traffic Act 1988
“143.— Users of motor vehicles to be insured or secured against third-party risks.
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part of this Act—
(a) a person must not use a motor vehicle on a road or other public place unless there is in force in relation to the use of the vehicle by that person such a policy of insurance or such a security in respect of third party risks as complies with the requirements of this Part of this Act,
(2) If a person acts in contravention of subsection (1) above he is guilty of an offence.”
If there is no private hire vehicle licence or if the driver is not a licenced taxi driver then the insurance for that person will not cover the trip in question. Therefore if there is any driving which occurs then the driver will be guilty of using a motor vehicle without insurance.
Schedule 2 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 provides that the penalty for breach of s.143 is fine of level 5 on the standard scale, obligatory endorsement and 6 to 8 penalty points and discretionary disqualification.
Quentin both prosecutes and defends in all aspects of motor law and is acknowledged to be one of the country’s legal experts in this area. If you find yourself facing prosecution for such offences or have any legal queries please do not hesitate to contact Quentin for a no obligation discussion of your case.