Changes to Special Hardship Orders

Changes to Special Hardship Orders

By Jaimee-Lee Jessop, Traffic Lawyer.

New rules now apply to Special Hardship Orders.

What is a Special Hardship Order?

A Special Hardship Order is an order granted by the court that allows a suspended driver on a provisional or open licence to continue driving under restrictions. It is not the same as a work licence and the eligibility requirements are different.

A Special Hardship Order will only be granted if you can show the Court that a licence suspension would cause:

  • Extreme hardship to you or your family by depriving you of the means of earning a living (i.e. you would lose your job); or
  • Severe and unusual hardship to you or your family, other than by depriving you of your means of earning a living.

We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice about whether you fall into this category.

How do the changes affect me?

Effective from 1 April 2019, a driver applying for a Special Hardship Order no longer need to apply within 21 days from the start of the suspension.  This is great news for drivers, as it allows for more flexibility.  It means that you can now apply for a Special Hardship Order at any time during the period that your licence is suspended.

For example, if you have served 2 months of your suspension period but your circumstances have changed, you could still be eligible to apply for a Special Hardship Order.

Another change, effective from 1 July 2019, is that you are not allowed to accumulate any demerit points during your suspension period if you are subject to a Special Hardship Order.

For example, if you are subject to a SHO license and you accumulate 1 or more demerit points, your initial suspension period will double in time.

Do I need a traffic lawyer?

We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice if you need to apply for a SHO license or think you have breached your SHO license restrictions. Early intervention and legal advice can hugely affect the outcome. It is ultimately a person decision whether to obtain legal representation.

How much does a traffic lawyer cost?

The cost will vary depending on your needs. For traffic offences, Jasper Fogerty Lawyers offer the certainty of an affordable fixed-fee rate.

We also offer free initial telephone advice and case assessment, which may help you make a decision about whether you need legal representation. You can contact us 24/7.