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Appealing against decisions made by the driving agency

These pages are about driving laws in the UK. If you are looking for information about driving laws in another country, please contact your local epilepsy organisation.

If you disagree with the driving agency’s decision to revoke or refuse your licence, you can write to them to ask them to reconsider. With your letter, you will also need to include:

  • Evidence that you meet the required standards for driving (for example, a letter from your GP or neurologist)
  • The reference number from the letter the driving agency sent you

Reasons why the driving agency may review their decision

A wrong diagnosis
If you think you have been wrongly diagnosed with epilepsy, you should first talk to your doctor. If necessary, ask to have another opinion from an epilepsy specialist. If your diagnosis changes, write to the driving agency, telling them you would like them to review their decision, and why. The driving agency will base their decision on whether you can have a licence on the information they get from you and your doctor.

A misunderstanding of your case
If you think the driving agency has misunderstood your case, you, or ideally your doctor, should write to the driving agency with further details. You can also send them copies of any new, relevant, medical information. This information may show that your diagnosis has changed, or that your case is, in some way, exceptional.

An administrative error
If you think the driving agency has made an administrative error, you should contact them, telling them what error you believe they have made. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, you may then want to seek legal advice.

Reasons why the driving agency cannot review their decision

The driving agency cannot review their decision if you don’t meet the epilepsy driving rules. In this situation it isn’t legally possible for them to issue you with a licence. There are no exceptions to this, even if you feel you really need a licence. 

How can I make an appeal against the driving agency’s decision?

If your request for a review of the driving agency’s decision isn’t successful, and you still believe their decision is unlawful, you may decide to make a formal appeal. The driving agency should send you details of the appeals process at the time of the licence decision. 

If you decide to go ahead with an appeal, it’s really important to get legal advice first. People very rarely win appeals to do with epilepsy regulations. And if you don’t win, you have to pay the driving agency’s costs. 



Who to appeal to

Time you have to appeal

If you live in England or Wales

Your local magistrate's court

6 months from the date of DVLA’s decision

If you live in Scotland

Your local sheriff’s court

21 days from the date of DVLA’s decision

If you live in Northern Ireland

Departmental Solicitors Office
Centre House
79 Chichester Street
Belfast BT1 4JE

3 months from the date of DVA's decision letter

If you would like to see this information with references, visit the Advice and Information references section of our website. If you are unable to access the internet, please contact our Epilepsy Action freephone Helpline on 0808 800 5050.


Epilepsy Action would like to thank Ed Foxell at DVLA for his contribution to this information. 

Ed Foxell has declared no conflict of interest.

This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.

  • Updated April 2018
    To be reviewed April 2020

Comments: read the 7 comments or add yours


I received a letter stating that due to me having quote (history of epilepsy or multiple unprovoked seizures within the last 12 months), I have been banned, this is news to me, I've been stagimated due to having Epilepsy in the past. I haven't had a seizure for over 7 years.

I fainted back in late January this year, due to very bad reaction to food - the only time ever, can I sue DVLA for staying it was a seizure/ unprovoked seizure due to epilepsy, which wasn't the case and just trying to blame it on Epilepsy ?

I have the stigma I get for having Epilepsy in general

Submitted by Dominic Johnson on

Hello Dominic
I can hear that this is a difficult situation to find yourself in. We agree that people who have epilepsy face more stigma than people who don’t have epilepsy. This is why we are working so hard to raise awareness.
As I am not legally trained I am not able to say what the criteria for taking legal action is. Citizens Advice may be able to advise you further about this.
I can see that you have seen our information about appealing the DVLA’s decision. As you disagree with the DVLA’s decision maybe you could ask them to reconsider. It sounds as though the DVLA have reason to believe that your faint may have been a seizure. This could be because of information you have sent them, or information sent by someone else. I wonder whether you could get in touch with them to ask them to explain their reasons for their decision.
Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Karen, Epilepsy... on

Hi, I voluntarily surrendered my licence last year after having my first seizure in 20 odd years on the understanding that I would be able to drive once the year was up, however, I reapplied for my licence too soon and it was refused, now DVLA are saying I have to wait until they do a full medical investigation before I can drive. I reapplied in beginning of May and they are still dragging it out (my first application was about 10 days too soon), in your experience is there any chance of being able to drive under a section 88 or will they just dig their heels in and delay things even more?

Submitted by Sue Davies on

Hi Sue

Yes we’re aware that they don’t like you to apply early.

The answer to your question lies in whether DVLA then revoked your licence. If they did, you will have to wait until your licence is in your hand before driving again.

If they haven’t revoked your licence, you should be covered by Section 88. But I think it would be wise to double check with DVLA. Otherwise your insurance would be unlikely to cover you if there was an accident.



Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Thank you for the reply, they did mark it as revoked, i'd have been better off not bothering to try until a week before my year was up by trying to do it all correctly I've shot myself in the foot, when I surrendered my licence all i had was a letter accepting it with no information regarding when I could reapply so i just thought it was a couple of months before hand. This morning they have written and told me I need to have a full medical and then after this it could take another 21 days to receive the information and 4weeks after that for a decision. Plus the medical centre they gave me to go to has no public transport available from where I live and I would have to cover the cost of the transport!

Submitted by Sue Davies on

I am unsure on how the laws work my doctor made a false diagnosise and now i have suffered for 4 years as i have grangfather rights with my licence but dvla refuse to give it back im at my wits end and dont knw what to do as i dont suffer any medical condition that affects my abbility to drive can some one advise me the best way forward

Submitted by William Malcolm... on

Hi William

It is difficult to know how to advise you without knowing more about your situation. The laws on driving and epilepsy are fairly well fixed

If you feel you have been wrongly diagnosed you could always ask for a second opinion. But appealing against a DVLA decision can be extremely costly if it goes against you.

If it would be of any more help, feel free to contact us on the Epilepsy Helpline freephone number 0808 800 5050. 



Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

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