As a professional bus driver, your Bus Driver Authority is your livelihood. Finding out that it is being cancelled or suspended, or that your renewal application has been refused is a devastating blow.

But even if you have received a letter advising that Transport for NSW is taking away your Authority, it’s important not to lose hope. You may be able to have the decision overturned and get back behind the wheel.

What are your options to save your Authority?

There are 2 main ways to save your Bus Driver Authority:

1. Internal Review

2. Appeal to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal

The right option depends on the reasons why your Authority was cancelled, suspended or your application was refused.

Internal Review

An internal review is a process where a more senior employee of Transport for NSW reviews the decision.

You will be given the opportunity to provide more information in response to the reasons why your Bus Driver Authority was cancelled, refused or suspended. The senior decision maker will consider your response and the original reasons. They will decide whether the decision was correct or not.

It is usually a good idea to ask for an internal review as a starting point. They are a fairly safe, cost effective and are a relatively quick way to try to resolve the problem.

If you are successful then your Bus Driver Authority will be reinstated.

Even if you are unsuccessful, you can still appeal against that decision to the Tribunal. So there is not a lot to lose by the internal review process.

It is important that you prepare your internal review application carefully. Anything that you write in the application will be used against you if you later appeal to the Tribunal. You want to make sure that you don’t accidentally say something that will weaken your case.  Contact us today for a free consultation so that we can help you navigate the challenges around your matter.

Appeal to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal

You can appeal against the decision to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). You can usually do this as soon as you receive the letter notifying you of the decision to take away your Bus Driver Authority. Alternatively, you can submit an internal review application first and then appeal to NCAT if that is unsuccessful.

Appealing to NCAT is like taking your case to a court.

An external decision maker, known as a ‘tribunal member’ will listen to your side of the story and Transport for NSW’s evidence. They will decide whether the decision to cancel, suspend or refuse your Authority should be overturned.

The benefit to this process is that you have an external person looking at the decision. Unlike an internal review, the tribunal member is not associated with Transport for NSW and has no personal interest in the case.

Appealing to NCAT is a more complicated process than lodging an internal review. You will need to follow the tribunal’s directions about preparing evidence, attend multiple hearing dates and address the legal arguments.

You can represent yourself at NCAT or have a lawyer represent you. The tribunal tries to make it easy for people to represent themselves. However, many people like the security of knowing their lawyer is preparing and presenting the strongest case possible for them, or at least having received some good advice before they go it alone. Ultimately this is a personal decision.

There are some risks associated with going to NCAT. In rare situations you might be ordered to pay for Transport for NSW’s lawyer if you lose. While this is quite uncommon, it is important to be mindful of this when deciding whether to appeal and then in making sure you conduct your case efficiently.

What to Do First

It can be hard to know whether to seek an internal review or appeal to NCAT. There’s no simple answer, and the right decision depends on the individual circumstances of each case.

It may be a good idea to speak with a lawyer before you do anything. This is because anything you say to Transport for NSW, submit on your internal review application, or write in your appeal application will be kept on file and used in your case. Sometimes drivers say something that locks them into one argument which may not be their strongest. Even worse, occasionally drivers unknowingly say something that actually makes their case worse.Our team at Ainsley Law is always happy to give drivers free guidance about the best option in their case. Call us for a chat today.

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