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Case details

Zachary De Silva (Appellant) v Licensing Authority of Trinidad & Tobago and another (Respondents) (Trinidad and Tobago)

Case ID: JCPC 2022/0050

Jurisdiction: Court of Appeal of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Case summary


Whether the Court of Appeal erred in determining that it is the Court of Appeal, and not the High Court, that is proper forum for appeals under section 88M of the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act Ch 48:50 ("the MRTA"), from a decision to disqualify a person from holding or obtaining a driving permit.


The Appellant was disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving permit for six months because he had accumulated 10 demerit points (penalty points) within a period of three years. The Appellant sought to appeal the decision of the Licensing Authority of Trinidad and Tobago and/or the Transport Commissioner (the Respondents) to the High Court.

The High Court dismissed the Appellant's appeal on the basis that the High Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal. The High Court ruled that under section 88M(9) MRTA such appeals must be made to the Court of Appeal, being the "Court of competent jurisdiction". The demerit point system and section 88M MRTA had been introduced, along with other matters, by the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic (Amendment Act) 2017 ("the 2017 Amendment Act"). The appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal in relation to traffic offences existed from the inception of the MRTA, this had not been changed by amendments brought in by the 2017 Amendment Act.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the Appellant's appeal. The Court of Appeal considered that Parliament would not have changed the appeals system, without expressly saying so. Further, appeals regarding traffic ticket matters in the Magistrate court (where the penalties that can be imposed by the Magistrate are the same as that which the Authority may impose) proceed directly to the Court of Appeal. A bifurcated process had the potential to create confusion and inconsistent decision making by the Court of Appeal and the High Court.



Zachary De Silva


(1) Licensing Authority of Trinidad & Tobago
(2) The Transport Commissioner



Lord Reed, Lord Sales, Lord Hamblen, Lord Leggatt, Lady Rose

Hearing start date

20 March 2024

Hearing finish date

20 March 2024

Watch hearing
20 March 2024 Morning session Afternoon session

Judgment details

Judgment date

25 June 2024

Neutral citation

[2024] UKPC 17