Posts Tagged ‘ road traffic ’


Written by admin
March 21st, 2019

How many times do you hear lawyers refer to cases “Only motoring” or “Some motoring rubbish”? This shows the lack of regard that many practising in the Crown and Magistrates’ Courts have for cases that arise out of road traffic legislation. Only when it is themselves, a close friend, or a family member, do they suddenly realise the devastating effect that some extra points or a six month ban can actually have. Then, and sadly, only then, is it time for some lawyers to put on their thinking caps and start to look for those famous “loopholes”.

At The Johnson Partnership I am pleased to say that all our lawyers are well-versed in all aspects of road traffic law. This is easy to claim, but it is something on which we are happy to be put to the test.

Not only are there the complexities that arise when the Prosecution fail to prove the necessary elements of a particular offence, but there are also questions that surround a court not imposing any points on someone’s licence because they found “special reasons not to endorse”. On a separate level, the whole issue of being allowed to continue driving with twelve points because the court have found the loss of a licence will cause “exceptional hardship” is an area of the law that is far too easily taken for granted and actually needs to have some serious thought and preparation applied on behalf of those who want to make this claim.

Matters can get even more complicated when a driver has two potential claims for “exceptional hardship” in two separate courts at the same time, but can only advance the same mitigation once in any three year period.

Move aside of course the question of what is and isn’t worth taking to the Crown Court on appeal.

Do not assume that every lawyer must be a road traffic expert, simply because it is the sort of area of law where very few people go to prison. In some respects, the opposite is true, because there isn’t the potential clang of the prison gates to focus the lawyer’s mind.

If you have road traffic or motoring issues that are going to see you appearing before a court anywhere in England or Wales you are most welcome to get in touch with The Johnson Partnership either by phone or by email to get proper assistance with what is when all is said and done a proper problem.


Written by Sian Hall
February 1st, 2018

On 15th January 2018, after almost ten years with the firm, Karl Meakin stepped out on his own account in the Magistrates’ Court.  An experienced prison lawyer, Karl is now strengthening the team of Chesterfield advocates comprised of Bob Sowter, Kirsty Sargent, and the inestimable John Wilford.

Karl will also be continuing to carrying on preparation and advocacy work for the Prison Law Team throughout the country.

The Chesterfield advocates are ably backed up by Richard Pell, Lucy Hooper, Yasmin James-Birch, and Lynda Gilbert.

With John’s added qualities as a regulatory specialist, the team has not only depth but considerable breadth.

Bob Sowter brings with him not only massive expertise in terms of adult and youth crime, but also a history of work carried out on behalf of the road haulage sector, which has ably equipped him to deal with a broader than average range of road traffic and vehicle related issues.

The remarkable Kirsty Sargent is the beating heart of the team, an excellent advocate and a superb organiser and administrator.

Karl could hardly be joining a finer group of lawyers who should ease him to greatness at an early stage.


Written by Will Bolam
October 26th, 2016

In Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire, Humberside, and well beyond, members of The Johnson Partnership have been engaged for years in enabling drivers, with twelve points or more on their driving licences, to keep driving.

At a recent training event, one of the most frequently asked questions by new clients was thought to be “How can I keep driving with twelve points on my licence?”

It is hoped that what follows may provide some sort of preliminary answer to this frequently asked question.

The first thing to say of course is that each case turns on its own facts and its own issues. The decision as to whether the hardship that would be caused by a driving ban is “exceptional” is one for the individual set of magistrates. On any given date, within the same building, different sets of magistrates may find that they feel that the same arguments either do or don’t persuade them that exceptional hardship would genuinely be caused to the defendant. Exceptional hardship can lie in the strangest of places!

Very often exceptional hardship will be caused to the children or relatives of the applicants. Elderly relatives will find themselves with no-one to assist in driving them to vital appointments and no-one to help with the heavy lifting of day to day life. Youngsters will find themselves unable to get to school because of the absence of public transport or their tendered years.

Exceptional hardship may be caused to a family, if the chief breadwinner is unable to carry on in employment that will enable the rent or mortgage to be paid.

Exceptional hardship may be caused to employees who will find themselves without work if the owner of the business is unable to drive to attend to the needs of clients or drum up new work.

In other cases exceptional hardship may be caused to members of sports teams, youth organisations, dance groups and the like, who have relied on a particular individual to drive the minibus to and from away fixtures or distant performance venues.

By definition, the list of things that may amount to “exceptional hardship” is limitless. All too often, defendants are reluctant to mention the sorts of difficulties that may be caused to those around them by the loss of their driving licence. Embarrassment, forgetfulness, or simple fear can mean that an exceptional hardship argument is only mooted when the decision has been made and the ban imposed.

Those who have suffered at the hands of particularly unsympathetic lower courts have of course the opportunity to pursue the argument before a higher tribunal in the Crown Court. A disqualification imposed by the magistrates can be suspended pending the hearing of the appeal.

If you even know that hardship is to be caused to those around you by the accumulation of points on your licence do not hesitate to approach us at The Johnson Partnership with a view to discussing whether such hardship might be felt, by a fair open-minded bench to be “exceptional”.

Call us at any time to discuss your thoughts and fears with one of our well-versed professionals. In recent times we have been happy to travel to mount arguments before benches all over England and Wales.

It is important, when preparing this sort of case to have more than your client’s instructions. Supporting documentation, independent confirmation of things that have been asserted, and the availability of corroborative witnesses is often crucial. Many of these cases are as much won in the preparation as in the presentation. Above all else, a defendant has to be prepared to give evidence on oath, in order that “exceptional hardship” can be found. It is important that defendants are aware of the sort of questions that they may be asked, so that they can themselves prepare to deal with any matters that might be thrown up either by the Crown Prosecution Service or the bench themselves.

This sort of personal attention to detail and painstaking preparation is what has helped us to achieve an unsurpassed success rate in mounting exceptional hardship arguments for our clients.


Written by Editor
May 2nd, 2015

The Johnson Partnership’s Criminal Defence Chesterfield office is delighted to announce the recruitment from Banner Jones Solicitors of Bob Sowter.

Bob has built up a wide portfolio of experience both locally and also in the Ipswich area of Suffolk.  He has considerable expertise in all areas of Magistrates’ Court work but in recent times has mastered the subtleties of road traffic legislation.

We believe that with his cheerful understanding approach to everyone and his skilled professional approach to work Bob will ornament our Chesterfield Criminal Defence team and enable us to further enhance our countywide reputation.

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