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Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003

Section 77: Endorsement of counterparts issued to Northern Ireland licence holders

134.This section provides that the holder of a Northern Ireland licence committing a road traffic offence in Great Britain will be able to opt for the fixed penalty system for road traffic offences, like the holder of a Great Britain licence, avoiding the inconveniences of a prosecution. The fixed penalty option is not currently available in Great Britain to the holder of a Northern Ireland licence. The section facilitates endorsement of a Northern Ireland licence for a road traffic offence or offences committed in Great Britain for which the fixed penalty system is applied.

135.Subsection (1) inserts a new section 109A of the RTA 1988, enabling the Secretary of State to issue a driving licence counterpart to the holder of a Northern Ireland licence so as to enable endorsement by authorities in Great Britain. The section makes provisions similar to those already applied to the holder of a European Community driving licence other than from Great Britain or Northern Ireland. It enables the Secretary of State to endorse a Northern Ireland licence, obliging him to return it to the holder. Section 109A(5) empowers the Secretary of State to require surrender of the counterpart or delivery of the licence to him, and to serve notice in writing that such delivery must be made and information provided within 28 days. It makes it an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a road having unreasonably failed to surrender the counterpart for endorsement or for correction of particulars of the holder's name or address.

136.Subsection (2) inserts new sections 91ZA and 91ZB into the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (“RTOA 1988”), setting out the application of that Act to Northern Ireland licence holders. The provisions of the RTOA 1988 to be applied to Northern Ireland licence holders are those which apply to them the fixed penalty system for traffic offences committed in Great Britain. The court procedures followed when penalty points are endorsed on a driving licence are extended to Northern Ireland licences. In particular, this includes various aspects of procedure when a driver is both disqualified and gains penalty points at the same time.

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