March 30, 2009

Approved Driving Instructor’s “Fit and Proper” Bench Mark

Amongst the powers that the ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) Register possesses is the ability to remove a person’s name from the Register on the grounds that “they have ceased to be fit and proper person.”

The Registrar in the past has only exercised this power when an instructor has been convicted of an offence (motoring or non motoring). The burden of proof in these cases rest with the Registrar, and it has been considered that complaints from the public concerning an instructor’s personal conduct and business activities would be classed as a contractual dispute; and might not carry sufficient weight to prove that the instructor was not a fit and proper person.

However, on the 23rd October 2003, the Transport Tribunal set an important precedent by dismissing an appeal made against the Registrar’s decision to remove an Approved Driving Instructor from the Register on the grounds that he had ceased to be a fit and proper person.

What made this a landmark case was the absence of a conviction for any offence. The Registrar made the decision to remove based on the number and nature of complaints from members of the public. All these complaints followed a similar pattern, with allegations of unprofessional behaviour, poor service, providing short lessons and failing to attend appointments.

In the decision to dismiss the appeal the President of the Transport Tribunal stated:

“It may be that when taken individually these complaints are essentially contractual in nature. However, when viewed as a whole we have no doubt that they demonstrate a persistence of conduct which supports a finding that the Appellant is not a fit and proper person within the meaning of the Act”

The Transport Tribunal is an independent judicial body that sits in London or Edinburgh. One of its functions is to hear appeals from Approved Driving Instructors who are aggrieved at the Registrar’s decision to refuse an extension of registration or remove their name from the Register.

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