Totting Up or Penalty Points Disqualifications – A Case Study

totting up

The Rule

It is the law that anyone who accumulates 12 or more relevant penalty points on their driving licence is liable to a ‘totting up’ disqualification. This ordinarily means disqualification from driving for a minimum of 6 months. The extent of the suffering that flows from loss of driving licence varies from person to person. Everyone would suffer inconvenience but some would suffer much more than others. The starting point in every such case is for the motorist to quantify just how much suffering loss of licence would cause and to whom.

Exceptional Hardship

The law provides an exception to the general rule ie anyone who can prove that he/she would suffer from ‘exceptional hardship’ will normally avoid a ban (or, at least, a ban of such length). However, the burden of proof is on the Defence ie the motorist has to go to court and prove, by giving evidence on oath, that he/she would suffer exceptional hardship. Consequently, the case has to be prepared as a mini trial so that the client is ready for giving evidence on oath (including being questioned by the prosecution in open court).

The Client

The client in this example was petrified that she would lose her licence and that this would have grave consequences for her and her family. She lived in a rural location and both of her daughters had special educational needs. Each had to be driven to and from specialist schools. Neither attended for the usual full school day. Each had to be taken to the main city for medical and other appointments. The client herself had recently taken on a role in a company that involved driving.

The Contention

The Defence had to gather evidence of all of the above-mentioned matters and evidence of the consequences of loss of licence (not just to the client but to her family). With regard to her work evidence had to be obtained of the impact upon others involved with her work. The contention put forward was that loss of licence would cause grave suffering and that innocent people (such as her daughters and colleagues at work) would also suffer.


Fortunately the court found that exceptional hardship would flow from a totting up disqualification. The Defendant was not disqualified. She was ‘mighty’ relieved to keep her licence.

All such cases benefit from expert analysis of the issues and thorough preparation for the court hearing. Motorists often assume that if they require their licence for their job that a court will find in their favour. Although the court will often take this into account it is far from a determinative factor and such cases can be easily lost.

If you are at risk of loss of licence through a totting up disqualification and you would like the benefit of expert preparation and presentation of your case in court then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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