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Appealing your driving test results

Information

If you are unhappy with the results of your driving test in Ireland, it is possible to appeal these results. The driving test appeals procedure is a statutory one. That is, your right to appeal your driving test results are set down in Irish law. The legislation that deals with your right to appeal is set down in Section 33(5) of the Road Traffic Act 1961.

Appeals against driving test results are heard in the District Court by a judge sitting alone. That is, there is no jury involved. In order to appeal the result of the driving test, you must do so within 14 days of failing your driving test. In order to begin appeal proceedings, you must lodge your appeal with your local District Court Office.

This can be done either by visiting the office in person or you may instruct a solicitor to do so on your behalf. You are not obliged to have a solicitor represent you and you may choose to represent yourself if you so wish. It is a very straightforward process and you will receive assistance in the court from the judge.

Starting off the driving test appeal process

To start off the appeals procedure, you must contact your local District Court Office and supply them with a written outline of the reasons why you feel the result of the driving test was unfair. This does not need to be in the form of an affidavit but must set out the reasons you will be relying on in during the court hearing. Once the District Court Office receive your request they will prepare a notice of appeal on your behalf which will be issued to the driving tester and to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. This will put both parties (that is, you and the Department) on notice of your intention to appeal the test result and will give them an opportunity to contest the matter when it comes before the District Court.

A useful reference to give to the District Court Office if you wish to appeal your test result is Form No. 97.1 Schedule C, Order 97, rule 3(1). This reference will indicate the correct form to be used by the Court Office in your appeal. This notice of appeal requires either your signature or that of your solicitor, if you engage one. A stamp duty charge of 18 euro is payable by you to the District Court Office for the issue of a Notice of Appeal.

The District Court Office will notify you of the time, date and place for the hearing of your appeal. The timeframe for when your case is heard will depend on your District Court.

The hearing

On the day of the hearing you appear in court and wait until your case is called. Your case will be heard before a judge but with no jury present. The case is heard in open court. That is, in public. When your case is called you will be required to go into the witness stand and give evidence on oath as to why you want the result of your driving test to be set aside by the judge.

After you have completed your evidence you may be cross-examined (asked questions) by the driving tester or their legal representative and you may also be asked questions by the judge. If the driving tester is in court they will then be given an opportunity to give evidence to the court (in other words, their version of events) and you will be entitled to question them once they has completed their evidence.

Rules

In a driving test appeal the District Court is the court of final instance. This means whatever decision is made by the judge cannot be appealed and it is final.

Financial compensation is not available for driving test appeal cases. A District Court judges can only make one of two decisions in a driving test appeal case:

  • Your appeal is refused: the judge agrees with the decision of the driving tester that you failed your test.
  • Your appeal is upheld: the judge is satisfied that your driving test was not conducted properly. You will then be offered a further driving test free of charge. If the judge directs another test to be carried out, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport must arrange to have it conducted by another tester.

It is worth noting, the court cannot enquire into the findings of the tester. It can only decide whether they conducted the test with malice, oppression or unfair conduct. This means that if the court is satisfied with the way in which the test took place it will not order a new test.

Previous cases on these matters have been heard before the courts. Those cases were Geraghty v Morris [1939] 2 AU E.R. 269 and Carrigan v Fox (1966) S.L.T.79.

Rates

No financial compensation is available in driving test appeal cases. In other words you will not receive any compensation for any costs associated with either failing your test or in taking the appeal.

There is a stamp duty of 18 euro payable to the District Court Office on the application for a Notice of Appeal to the District Court.

If your solicitor represents you in court, bear in mind that solicitors in Ireland are required to fully inform you in writing of all professional fees in advance. If it is not possible to give you a definite sum, they must estimate a sum (or at the very least describe the basis upon which charges or fees will be calculated).

Usually solicitors will wait until a case is conducted before requiring payment of their fees. Sometimes fees will be requested in advance, especially in a case where you run a high risk of losing.

Solicitors in Ireland charge competitive rates, so shop around and obtain some quotes before you decide on a legal representative.

Page updated: 11 August 2009

Language

Gaeilge

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If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.