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Special Hardship Order

A special hardship order is an order that can be made by a Magistrate which gives a person permission to drive, for certain specified purposes, during the period of what would otherwise be a suspension of their driver’s licence imposed by the Department of Transport and Main Roads. 

A Special Hardship Order should not be confused with a work licence; different tests and a different application process applies.

There are some important rules relating to how, and when, an application for a special hardship order must be made and it is important that you understand how the system works, or that you retain someone who does, if you are in need of such an order.

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    Application for a special hardship order

    Part 14

    Transport Operations (Road Use

    Management – Driver Licencing) Regulations 2010

    The law in Queensland requires that the Department of Transport suspends a person’s right to drive for they accumulate too many demerit points within 3 years, or if the person is guilty of a high range speeding infringement (driving more than 40km/h over the speed limit).

    The implications of a suspension can be severe.  First and foremost it means that a person cannot drive a motor vehicle but it also means that, if they do, they commit a more serious offence of unlicenced driving which will result in a mandatory court disqualification as well as potentially heavy financial penalties.  

    Fortunately for Queenslanders, our law offers eligible people the opportunity to apply for permission to drive, for certain specified purposes, during a period of suspension.  This permission is called a special hardship order.

    If you would like to know more about the eligibility requirements and application process for a special hardship order in Queensland, use the drop-downs below to assist you.

    If it all seems a bit too complicated, or if you have any concerns about a licence suspension and your need for a special hardship order, use the form at the bottom of this page to contact Townes & Associates for a cost and obligation free discussion about your situation.

    A person is eligible to apply for a special hardship order if:

    • They hold an open or Provisional Queensland driver’s licence, and
    • Their licence has not been disqualified, suspended or cancelled in the 5 years before their application, and
    • Their Queensland driver’s licence is, or is about to be, suspended because of an accumulation of demerit points or a high range speeding offence.

    Simply being eligible to apply, does not guarantee that a special hardship order will be granted – a special hardship order is not an entitlement at law and, in order to successfully apply, an eligible applicant must prove to the court that:

    • They are a fit and proper person to be granted a special hardship order, and
    • They will suffer extreme, severe or unusual hardship because they will be deprived of their means of earning their livelihood, or for some other reason, if they are not granted a are not a special hardship order.

    This legal test is fairly strict and how it will be applied to a given person’s circumstances varies case by case depending on their family and financial circumstances, the nature of their hardship and their history (both their driving history and their criminal history).

    A person is not eligible to apply for a work licence if:

    • They hold a Learner licence, and/or
    • They have been disqualified by a court from holding a driver’s licence, and/or
    • Their licence has been suspended by the State Penalties Enforcement Register (SPER).

    Applying for a special hardship must be done in the approved form and an application must be accompanied by supporting evidence in the form of affidavits.

    Normally, an application for a special hardship order requires 3 things:

    1. A designated application form,
    2. An affidavit from the applicant which sets out why they should be granted a special hardship order, and
    3. An affidavit from the applicant’s employer setting out the implications that a licence disqualification will have for their employment.

    Self-employed individuals, however, can prepare a single affidavit setting out their need for a special hardship order and the implications for their business if they are not able to drive in a single document.

    The format of the application is set out by law (it must be made ‘in the approved form’) so it is very important that the correct form is used.  Furthermore, the format and content of an affidavit for a special hardship order is quite particular and we strongly advise that, if you wish to apply for a special hardship order, you prepare your application and supporting material correctly to avoid delay and, at worst, a refusal.

    Once the material is prepared, the process for making the application requires the applicant to ‘file and serve’ their application and affidavits.  This means filing a copy of the application with the registry of the court which will sentence them and serving a copy of those same documents on the relevant prosecuting authority (almost always the Department of Transport).

    Once a correct application is filed, a hearing date will be allocated in the Magistrates Court (meaning the applicant will need to attend court and argue the merits of their application, normally against a lawyer employed by the Department of Transport).

    After a correct application has been filed, and a hearing date allocated, a copy must be served non the Department of Transport and, once this is done, the person’s suspension is lifted until the day before the hearing.

    Need a special hardship order?

    If you are facing a licence suspension and think you might need a special hardship order, use the form below to get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to talk through your situation.  Leave your best contact telephone number and we’ll give you a call back at no cost or obligation to you.

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