Judgement confirms principle of mutual recognition
By Isabelle Smets | Thursday 01 March 2012
The refusal of one EU country to issue a driving license cannot be used to justify the non-recognition of a driving license obtained in another member state, a judgement by the EU Court of Justice (Case C-467/10) said, on 1 March.
The case concerned a man who obtained a driving license in the Czech Republic a few months after being refused a license in Germany on the grounds that he did not fulfil all the conditions of physical and mental aptitude required for driving. The individual lived in Germany, and this country requested the non-recognition of the license he obtained in the Czech Republic on the grounds that he had been refused a license in Germany, and because it was not established that he lived in the Czech Republic at the time he obtained his Czech permit (while Directive 91/439/EC on driving licenses imposes the obligation that the recipient must live in the country where the license is issued).
The court said in its judgement that the principle of mutual recognition established by Directive 91/439/EEC means that when a member state issues a license, other states do not have the right to check that conditions of issue have been respected. The fact of holding a license should be considered as proof that the holder fulfils all the necessary conditions. Circumstances do exist, such as those relating to security, in which member states can go against the principle of mutual recognition, but the refusal of a first driving license does not count among these. However, the court said that a country can refuse to recognise a license if it is established, based on information from the country of issue, that conditions of residency are not fulfilled. It is up to national jurisdictions to verify this.