Communities and Justice

Remission of an unexpired period of driving disqualification

Applications to the Local Court

Amendments to the Road Transport Act 2013 were introduced on 28 October 2017 which introduced changes to penalties for driver licence disqualification to ensure that they are fairer and more effective in reducing unauthorised driving and repeat offending. They are embodied in Part 7.4, Division 3A of that Act.

One of the key reforms allows disqualified drivers to apply to the Local Court to have their disqualification periods lifted after a minimum offence-free period. The offence-free period is either 2 years or 4 years depending on the person’s offence history. Information on the driving reforms and how to apply to the Local Court for the revocation of a disqualification can be found on the NSW Government website.

Telephone enquiries concerning this process should be made to Transport for NSW on 132213.

Royal prerogative of mercy

While nothing in the amendments to Road Transport Act 2013 affects the Governor’s powers to exercise the Royal prerogative of mercy, generally speaking, the Attorney General will only consider a petition seeking the exercise of the Royal prerogative in relation to an unexpired period of driving disqualification once an application has been made and determined by the Local Court. 

The Governor of New South Wales has the power to remit the unexpired period of driving disqualification imposed by a court through the exercise of the Royal prerogative of mercy. The Attorney General may make a recommendation to the Governor that a person be relieved of the remaining period of disqualification. However, it is only in exceptional circumstances that the Attorney General would make a recommendation which would alter the findings of a court.

The remission of the unexpired period of driving disqualification is very rare. Consideration of public safety is the most important factor. Remission will not be granted where a likelihood of re-offending exists. A petitioner’s driving record will be a key factor in the decision. Reliable evidence of a petitioner’s rehabilitation is required.

Petitioners must also show there is an urgent and pressing need for the return of their licence. The extraordinary circumstances that could support remission generally need to have arisen after the penalty was imposed and should not be a foreseeable consequence of the disqualification. For example, a medical condition on the part of the petitioner or a person in their care that requires regular treatment, and where no other transport is available may support a recommendation for remission.

By contrast, the difficulties caused by the lack of a licence alone is never sufficient grounds to justify remission, including hardship experienced by the applicant in improving their income or employment prospects.

All petitioners are required to provide substantial evidence in support of their petition, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • evidence of a new sense of responsibility supported by character references
  • if the disqualification is for an alcohol/drug related offence, evidence that the applicant has addressed the alcohol/drug related problem
  • medical evidence, where applicable
  • the absence of any reasonable alternatives to the return of the licence.

The petition should provide substantive evidence in support of these and any other issues that they feel should be considered. A statutory declaration on the part of the petitioner is usually not sufficient.

All applications are considered on their individual merits. When an application is made to the Attorney General for a remission, an officer of the Department of Communities and Justice will be assigned the matter. The officer will write to the petitioner and request certain information be provided within a specified time frame. It is important that all this information be provided promptly in order that the application can be properly considered by the Attorney General, and ultimately, the Governor. 

A petition to the Governor may be submitted via an online webform at or sent to the Official Secretary to the Governor of New South Wales, Government House, Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000.

More information is provided on the Royal prerogative of mercy page.

Last updated:

12 Dec 2023