A Classic Case Of Exceptional Hardship In Dumfries

Kept Licence
Dumfries Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Court

We are often asked to give examples of exceptional hardship and, as the law recognises, we always point out that there are no hard and fast rules and each case will turn on its own facts and circumstances. There can be a degree of frustration when there is a public perception that exceptional hardship is given away by the Scottish courts but that is not the case. The consideration of these cases in England may be more generous however we always emphasise to clients that the key word is “exceptional” and a truly exceptional case requires to be made out for the court to be in a position to establish exceptional hardship.


Some cases we deal with easily come within the realms of exceptional hardship. This case was heard by Dumfries Justice of the Peace Court on 22 February 2018 and it didn’t take long for the court to accept our exceptional hardship submission. Our client had entered a plea of guilty by letter to a charge of speeding and received a letter back from the court requiring his personal appearance as he was liable to be disqualified under the totting-up provisions. Thankfully he sought our advice we duly moved the court to assign a formal proof to deal with the question of exceptional hardship.


The hardship in the case related to the accused and his family. It is often said that this is not enough however we disagree. This case involved a grief stricken family coming to terms with the tragic passing of their son and the court was quick to recognise that the family couldn’t cope with the main breadwinner losing his employment at this impossible time. A heart breaking case but the outcome was entirely justified in the circumstances. In the words of the great Edgar Prais QC, the court was awash with tears.

Published: 22/02/2018

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Successful Exceptional Hardship Proof

Our client had already pleaded guilty to a speeding charge (91mph on the M74) and contacted us for our expertise in an attempt to retain his licence. We successfully argued that exceptional hardship would be suffered if he were to lose his licence. Our client was allowed to continue to drive on 13 penalty points instead of being disqualified for at least 6 months....