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If you want to apply for a special hardship order, you need to follow these four steps:
Step 1 – Prepare your application for a special hardship order
Step 2 – Prepare copies of your documents and file them with the court
Step 3 – Give a copy of the documents to the Department of Transport and Main Roads
Step 4 – Go to the court for the hearing of your special hardship order application.
You will need:
You can get an application form from any Department of Transport and Main Roads Customer Service Centre. You can also get an application form from any magistrates court registry (it doesn’t have to be the magistrates court you’re applying to for the special hardship order).
An affidavit is a written statement to support your application and it is used as your evidence in court. You can get an Affidavit form from any magistrates court registry or you can download one from the Queensland Courts website www.courts.qld.gov.au (Form 46 under the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999).
You can get a statutory declaration from a post office or the Department of Justice and Attorney General’s website. If you don’t have a statutory declaration, you may need another back up document to support your application for a special hardship order. The type of document you need, what the Statutory Declaration should say and who it is from will depend on why you need your licence. For example:
To get your traffic history, you need to fill in a Driver’s Record Information Request form, which is available from any Department of Transport and Main Roads Customer Service Centre or on the department’s website www.tmr.qld.gov.au. You also need to pay a fee. If you mail the form to the Department of Transport and Main Roads with the fee, you will need to provide proof of identity. Telephone the department or visit the website to get a full list of acceptable proof of identity documents.
If you know you have criminal convictions, or you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to get a copy of your criminal history. To get a copy, you need to fill in an Application for Copy of Own Criminal History form at your local police station and pay a fee.
There are several forms and paperwork you must prepare and sign. The following steps describe how to do this.
The application should be clearly written in blue or black ink. You need to fill in your personal details and licence details. Read the application carefully to make sure the information you have included is correct and then sign it. You need to attach any documents that support your application to this form.
See the sample Special Hardship Order Application form in Sample documents and forms.
Your affidavit is a written statement to support your application and it is used as your evidence in court. It tells your story to back up your request for a special hardship order and is presented on an Affidavit form, which is almost completely blank – you have to write most of it.
Your affidavit should include your:
If you need a special hardship order because you’ll lose your job and will experience extreme hardship without a driver licence, your affidavit should also include:
If you need a special hardship order for study, health or another special reason (not related to losing your job or income) because you will experience severe and unusual hardship without a driver licence, your affidavit should also include:
See the heading ‘Statutory Declarations and other supporting documentation’ above for guidance on what documents to attach to your affidavit.
See the sample Affidavit in Sample documents and forms.
If you need to attach a document to your Affidavit, (eg your traffic history or criminal history), this document is called an ‘exhibit’. You need to put a certificate of exhibit on the document or attached to it, which is signed by the justice of the peace who witnesses your affidavit. A certificate of exhibit is a statement that confirms the document is the true copy of the document referred to in the affidavit. See the sample certificate of exhibit attaching a traffic history in Sample documents and forms.
The affidavit must be sworn or affirmed in the presence of a commissioner of declarations, justice of the peace or solicitor. To find one near you, call 1300 301 147 or visit www.justice.qld.gov.au
If you’re not self-employed, you must give the court an Affidavit by your employer confirming you will lose your job or a lot of your income if you don’t have a driver licence.
If your employer is an organisation, eg a company, get your immediate boss or someone further up in the organisation to provide the employer’s Affidavit. Whoever provides the employer’s Affidavit must be able to truthfully say you’ll lose your job if you don’t have a licence or that you would get less work and therefore a lot less pay.
Your employer’s Affidavit should include:
See the sample employer’s Affidavit in Sample documents and forms.
You need to make three copies of all the documents:
1. a copy for the Department of Transport and Main Roads
2. a copy for you to take to court in case you need to look at it
3. a spare copy.
The original and two copies of the documents should be filed at the magistrates court registry in the court division or district where you live within 21 days after your licence has been suspended. You will need to pay the court’s application fee. Check with the court to find out the current fee. The registry staff will stamp the documents and give you a hearing date. They will keep the original documents and give you back the two copies.
You must give the Department of Transport and Main Roads a copy of your application and supporting documents as soon as possible, but at least seven days before your hearing date. If possible, take the documents to a Department of Transport and Main Roads Customer Service Centre yourself.
At the same time you should also give a letter to the Department of Transport and Main Roads prosecutor asking if your boss will need to come to court. If your boss isn’t at court and the prosecutor wants to ask them questions, the matter may have to be adjourned until a later date.
See the sample letter to the police prosecutor on page 45, which will give you an idea about what to include in your letter to the Department of Transport and Main Roads prosecutor.
Once the Department of Transport and Main Roads gets a copy of your documents, your driver licence suspension will be temporarily lifted until the day before your court hearing. So if your suspension started on 1 June, your court date is 1 July and the Department of Transport and Main Roads gets the documents on 15 June, your licence is not suspended and you can drive without breaking the law from 15 June to 30 June. If you’re not sure, ask a lawyer for legal advice.
You must go to court for your application to be heard.
If you have an affidavit from your employer, your boss should be at court if the prosecutor has told you your boss is needed. Many magistrates don’t need the employer to be there if the affidavit covers all the information needed, but some do. If your boss can’t come to court, make sure you have a number they can be contacted on. If the magistrate wants your boss to be in court and they’re not there, the magistrate may adjourn the matter until a later date.
1. Magistrate — hears your application for a special hardship order and decides whether or not an order will be issued.
2. Depositions clerk — assists the magistrate and records proceedings.
3. Police prosecutor or the Department of Main Roads prosecutor— acts as the respondent in the case and may make submissions for or against an order being issued.
4. Applicant — the person who is making the application (you).
When your name is called you stand at the bar table in front of the magistrate so you are facing the magistrate.
Tell the magistrate you are applying for a special hardship order and make sure the magistrate and prosecutor have a copy of your application and affidavits. Tell the court your boss is there in the courtroom or outside, or that you have a phone number that your boss can be contacted on.
The magistrate may ask you and your boss to go into the witness box to give evidence. You will need to refer to your application and affidavits and answer any questions from the prosecutor or the magistrate about your special hardship order application. In some country and regional courts, the prosecutor may not come to court but may send a letter to the court to let the magistrate know what the department thinks about your application. After hearing from you and the prosecutor, the magistrate will then decide whether they will give you a special hardship order. The special hardship order will be in place for the suspension period.
If the magistrate gives you a special hardship order, you will need to take the court order to a Department of Transport and Main Roads Customer Service Centre and apply for a replacement driver licence within 14 days of the court order being made. You should read the special hardship order conditions very carefully and make sure you follow them.
If you drive outside the special hardship order conditions, you are breaking the law and your order will be cancelled if you get caught. If this happens, you will be disqualified from driving for a period of time.
If your circumstances change after the magistrate makes a special hardship order, you’ll need to apply to the court to change your order’s conditions.
If you have questions about your special hardship order, you should get legal advice.
Remember: Unless your special hardship order allows you to drive to and from the Department of Transport and Main Roads Customer Service Centre to get your replacement licence (which is unlikely), if you do so, you will be driving outside the court ordered conditions.
Last updated 16 November 2021