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Driving Offences: Disqualification

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions she has had with her EU counterparts on whether disqualification from driving ordered by a court in a member state should apply in other member states. (220052)

The United Kingdom is signatory to the 1998 convention on driving disqualifications, which was signed by the then 15 member states of the European Union. The provisions of the convention were brought into the law of Great Britain by the Crime (International Cooperation) Act 2003 and for Northern Ireland by a corresponding Order in Council. The convention is intended to ensure that a driver resident in one country and disqualified in another country for a motoring offence committed there, should not escape the consequences of that disqualification when he or she returns home. The convention will take effect when all 15 signatory states have ratified it. So far as we are aware, only Spain of the original signatories has done so. As yet, no member state of the European Union has put this convention into practical effect.

However, the convention provides that a member state may meanwhile declare formally to the European Union authorities that it will recognise the driving disqualifications of any other member state which has made the same declaration. On 26 June this year the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport agreed with his Irish and Northern Ireland colleagues that the United Kingdom and Ireland should aim to make parallel formal declarations to this effect as soon as practicable, with a view to instituting mutual recognition of driving disqualifications between the United Kingdom and Ireland under the 1998 convention in the course of spring 2009.

I am not aware that any other Member State has plans to take a similar step in the near future.