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The principle of mutual recognition of driving licenses

The principle of mutual recognition of driving licenses

The Court of Justice in its judgment of1 March 2012, in Case C-467/10, has stated an important clarification regarding the recognition of driving licenses within the EU Community. In this case, a person living in Germany repeatedly convicted of inflicting personal injuries, driving without a license, conspiracy to blackmail with threats and insults, was refused a driving license because the applicant failed to possess the requisite mental and physical fitness standards in order to drive responsibly and safely. Nevertheless, the person was successful in obtaining the license in the CzechRepublic. Subsequently, he was stopped by German authorities while he was driving a car and criminal proceedings were initiated against him for driving without a license. Contemporaneously, and resulting in a stay of criminal proceedings before the German court, the same person resorted to the EU Court of Justice seeking a ruling that the German authorities’ refusal to recognize the driving license issued in another State of the Union to a person they previously denied the same license. In this regard, the EU Court of Justice in its judgment declared that it is contrary to Community law and to the principle of mutual recognition without formalities, for a Member State to refuse to recognize a driving license obtained subsequently in another state of the Union by the person to whom he had previously denied it for lack of psycho-physical fitness requirements required by law. Otherwise, theEuropean Courtstated, theMemberStatewhich requires more stringent conditions for issuing a license would in effect establish the minimum requirements other states should apply and enforce in the recognition of driving licenses. This would constitute a violation of the principle of free recognition. The only possibility for a Member State to refuse recognition of a license lawfully obtained in another State may occur is when, on the basis of incontestable information supplied by the issuing Member State, it appears that the license holder did not meet the requirement of obtaining it at the time of residence in the issuing Member State.

Alessandra Quattrociocchi
Marco Moretti

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