Guidance

Appeal your driving test

You can appeal to a court about your driving test if your examiner did not follow the law, but your test result cannot be changed.

Applies to England, Scotland and Wales

You can make an appeal to a court if you think your driving examiner did not follow the law about how they must carry out driving tests.

The court cannot change your test result. If you win your appeal, they can decide you should either:

  • be allowed to take a free retest
  • get a refund of your test fee

You might have to pay significant legal costs if you lose your appeal.

It’s quicker and easier to complain to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) if you have proof that your test did not follow the law.

Check if you have grounds to appeal

You can get legal advice to help you work out if you have grounds to appeal.

You can appeal if your driving examiner did not follow the law. This includes things like:

  • the examiner did not check your eyesight at the start of the test
  • you spent less than 30 minutes on the road (you cannot appeal if the test ended early because you made a mistake which meant you’d failed)
  • the examiner did not ask you to do a reversing exercise
  • the examiner did not ask the ‘show me, tell me’ questions

You cannot appeal if something was not done because the examiner ended your test early because:

  • you’d made a mistake which meant you’d failed
  • your driving was dangerous

Check these pieces of legislation for the full list of what your driving examiner had to include in your test:

Reasons you should not appeal

Your appeal will not be successful if it’s because:

  • you disagree with your test result
  • you disagree with your driving examiner’s judgement
  • you think it was unfair the examiner marked a dangerous or serious fault
  • you did not like your driving examiner
  • you felt unwell during the test
  • your car broke down during the test
  • another road user did something wrong and you did not respond to it correctly

There’s a different process to complain about your driving examiner, for example, if you think they were rude to you. DVSA cannot change your test result.

Make the appeal

How you make your appeal depends on where you live.

England and Wales

Contact your local magistrates’ court within 6 months of your driving test to appeal in England and Wales.

Scotland

Contact your local sheriff’s court within 21 days of your driving test to appeal in Scotland.

What information you need to give

Tell the court you want to make an appeal about your driving test under section 90 of The Road Traffic Act 1988.

If you’re appealing an ADI qualifying test, you need to make the appeal under section 133 of The Road Traffic Act 1988 instead.

When you fill in any court forms about who you’re appealing about (‘the defendant’), use these details:

Central Policy
DVSA
The Axis Building
112 Upper Parliament Street
Nottingham
NG1 6LP

When you appeal, it will help if you explain:

  • which section of the law the driving examiner did not follow
  • how the driving examiner did not follow the law

Go to the appeal

The court will write to you with the details of when the hearing will be. The letter will tell you what to do on the day.

A judge, magistrate or sheriff will hear your appeal in court.

You can get a solicitor to represent you at the hearing, but you’ll usually have to pay them.

The court will usually dismiss your appeal if you do not go to the hearing.

Give evidence

You might be asked:

  • how you think the driving examiner did not follow the law during your test
  • to give evidence
  • to answer questions about your test (called being ‘cross-examined’)

In most cases, DVSA will have a legal representative in court. In some cases, the driving examiner might also be at the hearing to give evidence and answer questions.

What you need to show the court

You need to prove that it’s more probable than not that the driving examiner did not follow the law.

Get your appeal result

The court will normally tell you the result of your appeal at the end of the hearing.

If you win your appeal

The court cannot change your test result if you win your appeal.

It will rule you should either:

  • be allowed to take a free retest
  • get a refund of your test fee

DVSA will contact you if you win your appeal.

If you lose your appeal

You’ll need to book and pay to take your driving test again if you lose your appeal.

You might have to pay significant legal costs if you lose your appeal.

Published 19 April 2021