Driving licence form to be updated following questions over legality of the document

Minister acting after taking legal advice on existing provision.

Issues raised by TD Clare Daly about obligation on drivers to prove PPSN.

Sligo News File Online.

The application form which drivers seeking driving licences are being forced to complete has no proper legal footing, it would appear.

Clare Daly TD, Independent
Clare Daly TD,

Under current arrangements, drivers are also being ordered to provide independent evidence showing that the PPSN they have entered on forms is registered to them.

However, it now seems that the process is devoid of lawful authority.

This has been revealed following questions put to the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross by Dublin Independent TD Clare Daly.

She raised the matter after complaints that applications for licences were being refused where, among other things, the driver failed to submit proof of their PPSN.

But an investigation has shown, however, that the requirement for proof of the PPSN looks to have been inserted in the application form after the Statutory Instrument governing the process was brought into force.

The Road Safety Authority is body responsible for managing driving licence system under the Department of Transport.
The Road Safety Authority is responsible for managing the driving licence operation under the Department of Transport.

In her question, Deputy Daly asked Minister Ross if his attention had been drawn to the fact that the driving licence application form currently being used by the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) differed from the statutory form contained in statutory instrument number 420 of 2013.

She also asked him to state whether the National Driver Licence Service or any other agency has the authority to change or alter the statutory driving licence application form as contained in the statutory instrument.

The Minister said that after taking legal advice on the situation, he was now “in the process of preparing regulations to update the form.”

Minister for Transport Shane Ross, TD
Minister for Transport Shane Ross, TD

Despite his decision indicating that the form and by extension the Statutory Instrument by which it is governed has to be updated to conform to the requirement of the relevant Act, officials of his department have stated the current version of the form is valid within the meaning of the Interpretation Act. If indeed this is the case, why then would the minister be preparing regulations to update the contents of the existing form?

The Minister did not respond to the point concerning whether the wording of a statutory instrument, in this case the driving licence application form, can be amended without the statutory instrument being first updated by ministerial order.