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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:59 pm 
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Not sure if this has been posted;

Fife Area Regulation and Licensing Committee v. Robert James Ewing [2011] CSIH 45


In this appeal, the Sheriff at Kirkcaldy had allowed an appeal by the respondent, against the appellant’s refusal to renew his taxi driver’s licence. Renewal of the licence had been refused following the respondent’s three convictions for driving offences, with the committee deeming him no longer a fit and proper person to hold the licence (Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, Sch 1, para 5(3)(a)(ii)).

Before the Sheriff, the respondent had relied on a précis of previous decisions taken by the appellant on similar licence applications. This was said to show that the committee had previously renewed licences to applicants with more penalty points on their driving licences than him, and that it regularly gave licence-holders at least one further warning when an initial warning had been followed by the commission of an offence. Having reviewed this document (which did not include details of the facts and circumstances of each case), the Sheriff concluded that there was “huge disparity” in the decisions of the committee, amounting to the unreasonable exercise of the appellant’s discretion. The Sheriff considered that the decision in relation to the respondent was so out of line with other similar cases noted in the précis that it must be considered arbitrary, and the Sheriff accordingly allowed the appeal.

The Inner House, having heard submissions and considered the evidence before it, ruled that the Sheriff had erred in his reasoning. The court found that the appellant was entitled to hold that the respondent was not a fit and proper person to hold a licence, as his first licence had already been issued with a warning, followed by a second warning, and then the occurrence of a further offence thereafter. The court also commented that the Sheriff should not have allowed the précis to be received as a production, since it had contained evidence which was not before the appellant at the time of their decision making. The court noted that it held only partial information and was inherently unreliable because it failed to examine the facts and circumstances of each case, which ultimately bore upon the disposal made. Appeal allowed.

Court: Court Of Session (Inner House) (Scotland)

http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/2011CSIH45.html

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