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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. 

 

Country

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.

Code: 
B005.05

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 March 2017
    To be reviewed March 2018

Comments: read the 13 comments or add yours

Comments

Although anyone with epilepsy has to wait a year after having had a seizure, NO MATTER WHAT ITS CAUSE, there are 31 states in America where people who live there can drive quite legally after only 3 or 6 months after having had a seizure. They are then able to come over to the UK and use their American licence which means that although we in Britain must wait for a year after having had a seizure before we can drive, they can drive after only 3 or 6 months.
This is wrong,unjust, discriminatory and should be utterly illegal. Our law should and MUST be changed so that we in Britain are not discriminated against.

Submitted by jillbyron on

Hello
Thanks for your message. I can understand it must feel unfair that people can drive in this country on an American licence, without having to be seizure free for 12 months. We can't comment on how the American driving agencies make their decisions. The UK follows the European driving regulations. We believe that current UK epilepsy driving regulations are fair, robust and based upon evidence. The regulations allow as many people with epilepsy as possible to drive, without compromising safety.

Best wishes
Grace
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Grace, Epilepsy... on

It has taken DVLA 4 months from submission of my form to decide to revoke my licence for a year from the date of the letter - I have been driving all that time. I have had no reoccurrence so surely the one year should be from date of diagnosis not date of when they got round to making a decision ? Has anyone had experience of challenging this position ?

Submitted by Sheree Nolan on

Hello Sheree

We are unsure why the DVLA have chosen to make this decision based on the date of when they made the decision. The person who deals with our driving information is on leave at the moment, but if you leave this with me I will check once they return. I will email you once I have some further information.

Karen
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Karen@Epilepsy ... on

Thanks so much for your response and look forward to hearing from you - I have written to the DVLA in the meantime seeking clarification and providing additional evidence. As a single working parent living 40 miles from my work base this is going to be tough as I am sure it is for many people so keen to get a view . Sheree

Submitted by Sheree Nolan on

Hello Sheree
I have now had chance to check this with the person who deals with our driving information. To our understanding, the date should be based on the date of your last seizure, and not the date of the decision. It is good that you have written to the DVLA to ask for further clarification about this. Hopefully you will get an answer soon.

For your information, as you are not allowed to drive at the moment because of your epilepsy, you are entitled to apply for free bus travel and a Disabled Person’s Railcard.

You may also be interested in taking a look at the Access to Work grant if you haven’t already done so. This is a government grant which can support a person with a disability or long term health condition to stay in work.

Karen
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Karen, Epilepsy... on

We have had an awful weekend after receiving a letter from the DVLA saying that my husband has to now refrain from driving for 12months (meaning a further 6 months as we were looking forward to driving again this coming Saturday May 14th as date of seizure was November 14th).
This has come as a major upset and unjust surprise as all along the Neurology Consultant, Epilepsy Nurse Specialist and GP have all said it would be no driving for 6 months and this is what we have had all our hopes pinned on as no car makes work, shopping and life in general pretty poor.
As far as we can see there has been no changes in the law on Epilepsy and Driving and were told that my husbands seizure would count as an Isolated seizure as he has only ever had one previous one and this was 11 years ago.

Submitted by Karen Williams on

Dear Karen
It must have been a terrible shock. The driving law can be confusing, especially the isolated seizure regulations.

Your husband can write to the driving agency asking them to review his case. He will need to explain why he believes their decision is wrong, and send with his letter, a letter of support from his GP or epilepsy specialist. If his request isn’t successful, and you believe the driving agency is acting unlawfully, you can make a formal appeal.

Regards
Diane
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane, Epilepsy... on

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.
 
Karen
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.

Regards 

Cherry  

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