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Negligence
New drivers/probationary drivers/revocation of licence
Notice of Intended Prosecution

Negligence

Negligence is an act or omission (or series of acts/omissions) that breaches a defendant's legal duty to take care of another (e.g. a claimant) and causes that person to suffer loss.
In determining whether a defendant has acted negligently it is necessary to establish a "duty of care" between the parties and then to assess whether it has been breached. There are many established duties of care, e.g. road users to other road users, teachers to pupils, suppliers of goods to purchasers of goods. A driver who drives below the standard of a reasonably competent driver will be breaching his duty of care to other road users.

Negligence by its very nature is not intentional; in fact the defendant will often not realise he/she has done anything wrong.

Negligence is a "tort" (a legal wrong) and one of the most common causes of action in civil cases. If negligence is established it will also be necessary to establish causation for any loss and the quantum of loss so that the appropriate level of damages can be awarded. This may mean proving that an injury was caused by the negligent act/omission (rather than being a pre-existing injury). It may also be determined that the claimant was partly to blame and thus damages reduced accordingly (e.g. where a claimant was not wearing a seatbelt in a car crash) - this is known as "contributory negligence".

The concept of negligence is also used in criminal proceedings, e.g. road traffic offences such as driving without due care and attention and gross negligence manslaughter.

New drivers/probationary drivers/revocation of licence

A new driver (an individual who has only passed their test in the previous two years) will have their licence revoked automatically upon the accumulation of six penalty points. The first two years are therefore known as a "probationary period". An individual who accumulates six penalty points within this period will have to re-take their driving test. Passing a second test will not remove the penalty points, which will remain valid for three years. However, an individual who has passed a second test will not be subject to a further probationary period.

The Magistrates' Court has no discretion to waive this revocation as in normal cases of totting-up (where the driver is disqualified rather than the licence revoked). It is therefore important that a new driver challenges any fixed penalty notice he/she receives that he/she feels is unjust, rather than accepting the penalty points.

Notice of Intended Prosecution

A Notice of Intended Prosecution is a document issued by the police to the registered keeper of a vehicle involved in certain alleged motoring offences where verbal notice of a prosecution has not been given at the scene. Typically this will be where a vehicle was caught by a camera speeding or jumping a red light.

An individual who receives a Notice of Intended Prosecution is under an obligation to notify the details of the driver at the time of the alleged offence. The Notice of Intended Prosecution will have been sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle (identified via the registration number) and thus the driver on the day may be different. Failure to give information as to identity of driver within 28 days is itself an offence (endorsable by six penalty points). It is of course in the interests of a registered keeper to notify the police if it was not them driving the vehicle.

A Notice of Intended Prosecution must normally be served on the registered keeper within 14 days of the alleged incident. If not then a subsequent prosecution may be flawed.

A Notice of Intended Prosecution will often be accompanied by a fixed penalty notice (i.e. an offer for a driver to accept liability, a fine and an endorsement of penalty points instead of being prosecuted).

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