A legal loophole which enabled driver’s to escape a cross-jurisdictional driving ban between Ireland and the United Kingdom has recently been addressed, bringing about significant changes to those facing driving bans on one or other side of the border. The change in the Law came into effect on the 1st of August, 2017. The effect of this is that it places the Road Safety Agreement (which was signed by both the Irish and United Kingdom governments in 2015), on a legal footing and ultimately implements a ban on both sides of the boarder.
Previously, if a driver holding a driving licence in the Republic of Ireland was prosecuted and disqualified in Northern Ireland, the driving prohibition would neither extend nor be enforceable within his home jurisdiction of the Republic of Ireland. This was indeed the case likewise for drivers holding a licence in Northern Ireland who are prosecuted and disqualified in the Republic of Ireland. As a result of this legal loophole, the disqualification from driving was not extraterritorial and thus did not apply in the driver’s resident jurisdiction. Extraterritorial jurisdiction refers to the legal ability of a government to exercise authority beyond its normal boundaries. This ultimately rendered such a ban irrelevant for many drivers.
The United Kingdom’s decision to pull out of an EU directive on cross-border driver disqualifications and instead opting to introduce national legislation meant that Ireland had to introduce similar national legislation. There was also a requirement for both Ireland and the UK to sign an international agreement between the two countries.
The new agreement is contained within the Road Traffic Act 2016 at Part 7, namely The Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Driving Disqualifications between Ireland and the United Kingdom.
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