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Wirral Council Successfully Defends decision to revoke a Private Hire Driver & Operator Licence

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Wirral Council Successfully Defends decision to revoke a Private Hire Driver & Operator Licence 18th June 2018

Liverpool Magistrates Court and Liverpool Crown Court determined that the Appellant and Appellant company were not fit and proper persons to hold their respective taxi licences.

The appellant, Mr Norman Cummings ran an airport transport company called the Wirral Airport Hopper.
According to Wirral Council, its licensing section had “over a number of years” received “numerous complaints” about Mr Cummings after customers paid up-front for airport transfers but he failed to turn up to fulfil the booking.

As well as leaving customers stranded without their transfer, the company also failed to make refunds until complaints were made to the council’s licensing section. Some customers never received their money back, the council said.

In a judgment HHJ Wright, sitting at Liverpool Crown Court, determined that the Operator Licence had ceased to exist when the Appellant company was dissolved prior to the Crown Court hearing. However, the bench considered that had the company been reinstated prior to the Crown Court hearing, it would have been necessary to hear further argument regarding whether the licence could be ‘resurrected’.

The Council’s decision to revoke the licence was founded on several matters of fact (disputed by the Appellant), including some 10 complaints by customers who had not been collected or not been picked up from the airport despite pre-booking. Over the course of a two day hearing at Liverpool Crown Court Wirral Council Licensing Officers gave detailed evidence regarding the investigation into the Appellant and his company.

Chair of the council’s licensing panel, Cllr Paul Stuart, said last week: “This is an unusual case but it does show that the licensing authority will use the powers it has to take action against any driver or operator who falls below the standards expected in Wirral.”

Cllr Stuart’s words come after Mr Cummings, described as offering “unreliable service and poor practice” by the council, failed in his appeals against the licensing panel decision.

Freddie Humphreys & Constanze Bell from King Chambers were instructed by Ken Abraham, Senior Solicitor of Wirral Borough Council.

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