Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.

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Monday, 30 June 2014


Exceptional Hardship is an example of where Justices of the Peace can still exercise some free thinking as opposed to the myriad situations where the Sentencing Guidelines have brought tick box thinking to our courts in the name of “uniformity”. As with health outcomes there should be only one outcome in any post code; the best and most suitable in the individual circumstances.

This reported case has virtually all the ingredients of such applications. Bear in mind that loss of employment is not a valid reason for allowing such an appeal are there any colleagues out there who would have come to a different conclusion considering also that a finding of exceptional hardship does not necessarily require the whole six months ban to be lifted; a partial ban can be imposed eg four weeks?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, on the basis of the reported facts and assuming they are reported accurately, then I would have imposed a ban. I do not consider any of the reported facts to constitute exceptional hardship.

    This motorists was well aware of his precarious position viz his point situation yet still drove at excess speed. He was aware or at least should have been of the consequences of his action. The fact that the majority of his points were amassed whilst he was an HGV driver is irrelevant to the case in hand. Notwithstanding I would point out that driving an HGV at excess speed demonstrates a highly irresponsible attitude towards road safety and has so often resulted in massive motorway pile ups the consequence of which may result in serious injury or death.

    This man knew he had to hold a licence for his job and how many millions of other people can also claim that they will lose their house if they lose their job? It is a common enough scenario. Of course his ban would impact on others but that is usually the case. The question is whether the hardship is exceptional. On the basis of the reported facts I don't think it is.

    On a slightly different note.
    The guidelines are not about 'Uniformity' they are about consistency. There is a difference.