Section 42, Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988

If a period of disqualification has been imposed an application can be made for early removal of the disqualification.  The application is also known as a Petition for the restoration of a driving licence.

The application must be made to the court that imposed the period of disqualification and it can only be made once a certain period of time has lapsed from the date of disqualification.  This will depend on the length of disqualification that was imposed.  

Time Limits: 

If the period of disqualification was for: 

  • 4 years or less, an application for early removal of disqualification can be made after 2 years.
  • 4 to 10 years, an application can be made after one half of the period has expired.
  • more than 10 years, an application can be made after a period of 5 years.


Application Procedure

An application or petition must be lodged with the court.  A court fee is payable and the application should contain personal details of the disqualified person, together with details of the original offence, period of disqualification and the reasons why early removal of disqualification is sought.  This latter element is essential and reasons for early removal of disqualification may include:

  • Employment Opportunities:  a new job or promotion that depends on the ability to drive;
  • Health issues:  health issues to either the disqualified driver or some other person that would benefit from the ability to drive;
  • Hardship: hardship to either the disqualified driver or some other person which might be avoided with the ability to drive.

The application for early removal of disqualification should also be sent to the Procurator Fiscal’s office.  This will trigger a background check on the disqualified driver by the police.  Where the disqualification was imposed for a drink related offence a doctor’s report may be required to ensure that there is no underlying problem with alcohol.  If the application is based on a health issue a medical report will be required.  Any additional information that would support the application should also be obtained.  This might include character references and letters from employers.

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Court Hearing

Once an application has been lodged with the court a hearing will be fixed.  This is the opportunity for the disqualified driver to make representations to the court in support of the application.  Any additional information can be put before the court at this time.  The Crown can also make representations before the court which may or may not support the application.  This largely depends on the terms of the police report. 

The application can be granted, refused or continued for further information. In coming to a decision the court will have regard to a number of factors, including:

  • The character of the person making the application and their conduct since the period of disqualification was imposed;
  • The nature and circumstances of the original offence that led to disqualification;
  • The reasons given for early removal of disqualification; and
  • Any other circumstances relevant to the application.

If the application is refused there is no right of appeal, but a fresh application can be made after a period of 3 months.  If the application is granted the person making the application must apply to DVLA for return of their licence before they start driving again.

How we can help

If you are disqualified and thinking about making an application for the early removal of disqualification we recommend that you seek specialist advice from a road traffic lawyer to improve your chances. Our experience and expertise in this area will quickly determine the merits of your application and the prospects of success. Early expert advice can save time and expense. We can prepare your application, order appropriate reports and make forceful representations at court. We pride ourselves in offering a service that is friendly, honest and reliable. For free advice that is without pressure or obligation simply contact us:

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