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This article was written by Chris Townsend - Senior Associate - Perth

Chris Townsend is a criminal lawyer who regularly represents clients in the Magistrates, District, Supreme and Court of Appeal of Western Australia. Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), Juris Doctor, Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, and Master of Laws specialising in Criminal Practice.  He was admitted to practice in Western Australia in 2013, and thereafter as a solicitor to...

Extraordinary Drivers Licences (WA)


In Western Australia, an extraordinary drivers licence (EDL) is a licence that can be granted by a court on application by a person who has been disqualified from driving. The principles with respect to such an application are set out in the Road Traffic (Authorisation to Drive) Act 2008. This article outlines the scheme around extraordinary drivers licence applications in WA.

When does the court grant an extraordinary drivers licence?

An application for an extraordinary drivers licence is made in the Magistrates Court.

The court must not grant an EDL unless satisfied that refusing the application would:

(a)         deprive the applicant of the means of obtaining urgent medical treatment for an illness, disease or disability known to be suffered by the applicant or a person who is a member of their family; or

(b)         place an undue financial burden on the applicant or their family, by depriving the applicant of their principal means of obtaining income; or

(c)         deprive the applicant or a person who is a member of the applicant’s family of the only practicable means of travelling to and from the place at which the applicant or that person, as the case may be, is employed.

The onus is on the applicant to establish, on the balance of probabilities, of any of the above matters.

The court will also have regard to the following matters:

  • the safety of the public generally; and
  • the character of the applicant; and
  • the circumstances of the case; and
  • the nature of the offence or offences giving rise to the disqualification; and
  • the conduct of the applicant subsequent to the disqualification.

Waiting Periods for an Extraordinary Drivers Licence

Section 28 of the Act sets out various waiting periods that apply to a person seeking an Extraordinary Drivers Licence depending on the offence giving rise to the disqualification. The minimum, and most common, waiting period is 21 days.

That period is reduced by any period during the applicant was disqualified by a roadside disqualification notice.

In the event you have made an application and are unsuccessful, you must wait six months before you can make another.

Documents required for an Extraordinary Drivers Licence

In order to commence an application for an Extraordinary Drivers Licence you must:

  1. Draft a Form 5 – Application for Extraordinary Licence. This application sets out various matters including the times you need to drive, locations, and distance from Perth;
  2. Draft an affidavit in support of your application which sets out evidence in support. This will often include a letter from your employer setting out the ramifications of you not being granted an EDL;
  3. Swear the affidavit in front of an authorised witness; and
  4. File the Application and Affidavit, and pay the prescribed filing fee.

After completing the above, the court will list the matter for hearing. That hearing will be, a few weeks later, so as to allow the documents to be served upon the Department of Transport.

Hearing

On the hearing of your Extraordinary Drivers Licence application, a lawyer from the Department of Transport will appear as the Respondent. They will inform the court whether they oppose your application, and if so, on what grounds.

In the event the application is opposed, you will be required to give evidence from the witness box. You will be required to swear an oath (or affirm) to tell the truth, and will thereafter be asked questions about the basis of your application and evidence that you have in support.

After all the evidence has been adduced, the court will ask both parties to comment. The magistrate will give their decision immediately thereafter.

In the event you are granted an Extraordinary Drivers Licence you will need to take the order from the court to the Department of Transport and upon payment of the prescribed fee, you will be issued with an EDL. In the event you are not granted an EDL, as discussed above, you will need to wait 6 months to make a further application.

Conditions

In the event your EDL is granted, the court has the power to impose conditions upon you to regulate your driving. Those conditions will include, amongst other things:

  1. The class of vehicle you may drive;
  2. The days and times you may drive;
  3. The locations you may drive in;
  4. The need to display ‘E’ plates;
  5. The need to maintain a logbook of everywhere you drive;
  6. The requirement that any driving be done only in the course of employment (or to and from your workplace as the case may be).

Breaching EDL Conditions

Your Extraordinary Drivers Licence (if granted) will have numerous conditions. In the event you breach any of those conditions (such as driving at times not authorised), you can be charged with an offence of breaching the conditions of an EDL.

In the event you are found guilty of breaching the conditions of your EDL, your EDL may be cancelled.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal. 

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