Offences relating to hackney carriages and private hire vehicles
Produced in partnership with Freddie Humphreys of Kings Chambers
Offences relating to hackney carriages and private hire vehicles

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with Freddie Humphreys of Kings Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Offences relating to hackney carriages and private hire vehicles
  • Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles
  • The licensing of hackney carriages and private vehicles
  • Offence of driving a hackney carriage without drivers licence
  • Offence of permitting 'plying for hire' without a licence or employing unlicensed drivers
  • Offence of contravention of prohibition of vehicles on hackney carriage stands
  • Offence of private hire vehicle failing to exhibit plate
  • Offence of failing to produce driver's licence
  • Offence of failing to display driver's badge
  • Offence of driving without insurance under the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988)
  • more

Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles

A 'hackney carriage' is a vehicle which is licensed to 'ply for hire', that is to provide a taxi service and wait on taxi ranks for customers. See Practice Note: Taxi licensing.

It is an offence under section 167 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (CJPOA 1994), to ply for hire without a taxi licence.

See Practice Notes: Taxi touting or soliciting for hire and Taxi and private hire vehicles enforcement.

A 'private vehicle' is defined in the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 (LG(MP)A 1976) as 'a motor vehicle constructed or adapted to seat fewer than nine passengers ... which is provided for hire for the purpose of carrying passengers'.LG(MP)A 1976, s 80

A 'private hire vehicle' cannot 'ply for hire' or wait on taxi ranks for customers.

The licensing of hackney carriages and private vehicles

Taxis outside London

Outside London the principle statutes that regulate the licensing requirements for hackney carriages are the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 (TPCA 1847) and LG(MP)A 1976.

The provisions of LG(MP)A 1976 apply in those areas where a local council has passed a resolution adopting LG(MP)A 1976. All local councils have adopted LG(MP)A 1976, with the exception of Plymouth where the Plymouth City Council Act 1975 is the primary legislation.TPCA 1847, ss 37–66LG(MP)A 1976, Pt IIPlymouth City Council Act 1975

Under TPCA 1847 and LG(MP)A 1976 two licences are required to enable a 'hackney carriage' to 'ply for hire'. These are:

  1. a 'proprietor's licence' (this relates to the vehicle itself), and

  2. a driver's licence

Under LG(MP)A 1976 a local authority can suspend a licence where