If you have a criminal history, you can apply for a taxi or private hire car driver’s licence in Scotland.

Taxi and private hire car drivers must be “fit and proper” people.  The law does not define what “fit and proper” means and so each application will be dealt with on its individual facts.

If you made an application to any council in Scotland, you will be required to disclose any criminal history that you have.  You will be required to disclose ALL the convictions you may have including formal cautions and driving offences.  Offences by applicants for a taxi or private hire car licence are mostly not subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.  This means that any previous conviction you may have will never become “spent” and will always be relevant.

The only exception to the rule is what is known as “protected” convictions.  If you are not sure, you can contact us for legal advice.

Your application will also be sent to the Police Scotland.  They will undertake checks and may object to your application for a taxi or private hire car licence to be issued.  If you have a criminal history, it is likely that they will raise an objection.

If you have a criminal history (or the council has any other concerns about you), your application will be referred to the council’s Licensing Committee/panel.  The fact that you have a criminal history does not automatically mean that your application will be rejected.  The Licensing Committee/panel will need to consider the individual merits of your case including any mitigating circumstances but also any objections raised and its own licensing policies.

If the Licensing Committee/panel’s view is that you are not a “fit & proper” person your licence will be refused.  However, by being well prepared to present your case and arguments you can significantly improve your chances of success. Licensing Committees/panels in Scotland have certain procedural rules to follow when determining applications and it is important that you are aware of these also.