Court of Appeal Adjusts Driving Disqualification Period to Account for Time Spent on Remand

Citation: [2023] EWCA Crim 1414
Judgment on


In the case of Calvin James Grant v R [2023] EWCA Crim 1414, the Court of Appeal Criminal Division considered the appropriateness of a driving disqualification period for an offender who had been sentenced to imprisonment for multiple offences, and whether time spent on remand should be accounted for in calculating the length of the disqualification.

Key Facts

The appellant, Calvin James Grant, had been convicted of dangerous driving, possession of a bladed article, and possession of a prohibited weapon. Upon sentencing, the judge at Derby Crown Court ordered him to serve concurrent custodial sentences and imposed a driving disqualification of 3 years and 11 months. This duration included an extension to reflect the length of the custodial sentence as per section 35A of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (RTOA) and section 35B where custodial terms for other offences were involved.

However, Grant had spent a significant time on remand, which raised the question of whether this period should impact the calculation of the disqualification period so that it would not all be served upon his release from custody.

The legal principles relevant to this case are derived from:

  1. Statutory Obligations: Under sections 34 and 35 of the RTOA, disqualification is obligatory for certain offences, including dangerous driving. Further, sections 35A and 35B of the RTOA deal with the extension of disqualification periods where custodial sentences are imposed.

  2. Parliamentary Intention: As established in R v Needham & Ors [2016] EWCA Crim 455; [2016] 1 WLR 4449, statutory provisions were intended to prevent offenders from serving their entire disqualification while in custody.

  3. Judicial Discretion: Needham affirms that the court has the discretion under section 35B to take into account time spent on remand by adjusting the “discretionary” period of disqualification.

  4. Proportionality: There is a guiding principle that the disqualification period should not be disproportionate; that an offender should not be in a worse off position than one not remanded into custody prior to sentencing.

The court identified errors made during the initial sentencing, where the judge and counsel did not properly consider the potential to adjust the period for the time spent on remand. The prescribed mechanism is the use of judicial discretion to achieve proportionality regarding the disqualification period.


Applying Needham, the Court of Appeal concluded that the original disqualification period of 3 years and 11 months was disproportionate given the time Grant had already spent in custody. The Court of Appeal exercised its discretion to adjust the disqualification period to 2 years, which accounted for 12 months, plus a 6-month extension, and a further 6-month uplift under section 35B. This new period is deemed proportional to the custodial sentence and time on remand.

Additionally, an administrative correction to the victim surcharge order was made, reducing it from £181 to £170.


This judgment in Calvin James Grant v R underscores the courts’ statutory obligations and discretionary powers to ensure fair and proportionate punishment, particularly regarding the calculation of driving disqualification periods alongside custodial sentences. The principles from R v Needham & Ors [2016] were reaffirmed, guiding the Court of Appeal to rectify the disproportionality that arose from the sentencing court’s oversight. As a result, Grant’s driving disqualification period was reduced to account for the time remanded in custody, thereby aligning the punishment with the relevant legal framework and principles of proportionality.

Related Summaries