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Policy Bulletin 6 / 17 Criminal Law Policy - applications to remove driver disqualifications

25 Oct 2017

The Legal Aid NSW Board has approved changes to the Criminal Law Policy to provide for grants of aid in applications to the Local Court to remove driver licence disqualifications under Division 3A of Part 7.4 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW).

Background

The Road Transport Amendment (Driver Licence Disqualification) Act 2017 commences on 28 October 2017 and will introduce a new scheme to enable a disqualified driver to apply to the Local Court for an order removing his or her current driver disqualifications.

The reforms have drawn upon the NSW Parliament Committee on Law and Safety’s 2013 report, Driver licence disqualification reform and comprehensive consultation with key stakeholders. The evidence shows that lengthy disqualification periods do little to deter unauthorised driving and have a serious and disproportionate social impact on vulnerable people, especially in remote areas.

A person is ineligible to apply for removal of licence disqualification if they have been convicted of a very serious motor vehicle offence (eg causing death or grievous bodily harm).

The court can only make an order to remove a licence disqualification if:

* the person has not been convicted of any driving offence during the relevant offence-free period (being 4 years for disqualifications arising from specified serious offences, and 2 years in other cases), and
* the court considers that it is appropriate to do so taking into account relevant circumstances (eg the safety of the public, the applicant’s driving record).

What has changed?

Legal aid is now available for applications to the Local Court to remove driver licence disqualifications. The service will be provided on a duty basis.

See Policy Online at  4.3.7

Commencement date

The change applies to applications for legal aid determined on or after 28 October 2017.

Contact for further information

Please contact the Legal Policy Branch for any questions about the change on legalpolicy@legalaid.nsw.gov.au or contact Anna Coffey on 9213 5209.