Philip Somarakis has spent the last 14 years advising drivers who have had their driving licence revoked by DVLA on medical grounds.
Mr B instructed Philip Somarakis to appeal a decision by DVLA to refuse to grant a licence to him following a failed on road driving assessment. Philip advised Mr B who obtained a report from a consultant neurologist which confirmed that Mr B would be safe to drive. Following a further on-road driving assessment, Mr B had his licence reinstated.
Philip acted for Mrs N who had suffered a seizure and was not able to talk briefly. DVLA had been notified and told her not to drive, revoking her driving licence in the process. A close examination of the Epilepsy rules revealed that DVLA had in fact, misapplied them in Mrs N’s case. Following Philip’s intervention and supporting medical evidence, DVLA accepted re-application from Mrs N who secured the return of her driving licence.
Mrs D who suffers from diabetes asked Philip Somarakis to assist her when DVLA refused to renew her driving licence. Mrs D had suffered two hypoglycaemic attacks. Based upon the DVLA guidelines at the time, Mrs D was eligible to have her licence renewed after 12 months as it was established that these were both night-time attacks.
Philip Somarakis represented a client before Brighton Magistrates Court who has spent the last 5 years seeking the return of his driving licence which was revoked by DVLA due to a visual field defect. The client suffers from a form of retinitis pigmentosa which resulted in him failing an Esterman Test in 2008.
Having lost his driving licence, Philip's client lost his business which was dependent on him being able to drive. With the help of expert evidence, Philip was able to persuade the court that his client should be considered as an exceptional case. The court agreed and has granted Philip's client a driving licence so that he can now undergo an on-road driving assessment, with a view to him obtaining a full driving licence.s
Philip acted for Mr M who had reported a loss of vision following a head injury. He was deemed fit to drive by his doctor and applied to DVLA for a driving licence. DVLA issued Mr M with a Provisional Disability Assessment Licence (PDAL) for one day and required him to undergo a rigorous on-road driving assessment.
Mr M had by now, not driven for a number of years and he was put into a stressful situation, driving a vehicle he was not familiar with. It is not surprising that his standard of driving that day, was not considered satisfactory. His application for his driving licence was thus refused and he was back to Square 1 and resulting in him suffering financial hardship.
Initially, Mr M had instructed another law firm to act for him and he appealed DVLA’s decision to refuse to give him his licence back. He lost his appeal in a Magistrates Court and was ordered to pay DVLA’s legal costs. At that stage he approached Philip, who contacted DVLA and was able to secure a further PDAL for several months.
That gave Mr M a proper opportunity to get back behind the wheel again and take some refresher lessons before successfully passing the on-raid driving assessment. Mr M felt aggrieved by the way DVLA had handled his case and he complained about it. We got involved and his complaint was eventually upheld, resulting in him being able to submit a claim for compensation.
Philip Somarakis was mentioned in a Sunday Times article concerning one of his cases. The client in question, had voluntarily given up her driving licence after she suffered a mini-stroke. However, she was forced to appeal to her local Magistrates Court after the DVLA persistently refused to give her driving licence back on the grounds she was still unfit to drive.
Eventually this was considered by the Parliamentary Ombudsman who found in her favour and ruled that there had been systemic failings with DVLA. The Ombudsman held that there had been “unreasonable delays”, “unnecessary distress” and “apparently destroyed evidence”. The client was awarded nearly £24,000 by the Ombudsman for stress, isolation and loss of earnings. The Ombudsman also ordered the DVLA to pay her legal costs back. The licence was finally returned to her earlier this year, seven years after she gave it up.
This is the latest in a series of complaints regarding the DVLA’s fitness-to-drive assessments, all of which have been upheld. It is understood that the Ombudsman’s full review, soon to be published, will demand wider changes in the system.
Philip Somarakis is considered to be the leading lawyer in Driving Licence Medical Appeals.
Philip Somarakis represented Mr C who had his group 2 licence revoked following being diagnosed with psychosis. This proved to be a wrong diagnosis and affected when Mr C was able to reapply for his licence following a period of stability
A report from a consultant was obtained which identified severe depression as the correct diagnosis.
This paved the way for Mr C to obtain his group 2 licence back after 12 months.
Philip Somarakis advised Mr D who had previously had his driving licence revoked by DVLA following a diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa. Mr D had been driving all his life without incident and his condition had only been picked up following a routine eyetest.
Mr D had notified DVLA which then promptly revoked his licence on the basis he had a disbarring medical condition. Philip was instructed to appeal the decision and with the aid of a consultant ophthalmologist, Mr D’s appeal was successful. It was argued that Mr D had sectoral retinitis pigmentosa and that as his condition was stable, Mr D should have been treated as an exceptional case.
Philip Somarakis acted for Mrs L who reapplied for her driving licence following a stroke which left her with a visual field defect.
Her re-application was successful but she then had to undertake an on-road driving assessment. She had not driven for 2 ½ years, had no opportunity to practice and was nervous. During her drive she misread one set of a number of traffic lights at a junction. She was “failed” following her on-road assessment although the reason for this was not clear – the assessor stating that it may have been due to her visual field defect.
Her full licence application was refused and she appealed. Her full licence was subsequently reinstated following a further on road assessment which she passed without incident.