Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Wednesday, 20 December 2023 17:06

Varying a Special Hardship Order

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Given a special hardship order will last at least 6 months then there will be times when circumstances change and the hardship order needs to be modified.  The question then is can you vary or change a special hardship licence?


The basics

A special hardship licence or special hardship order is a licence issued when you exceed 2 demerit points on a good driving behaviour period or have exceeded the speed limit by more than 40 km/h (high speed suspension).  It is also known as a hardship licence, SHO, demerit point licence, good driving behaviour licence or special hardship order.

If you accumulate too many demerit points, TMR will write to you giving you the choice of a licence suspension (usually 3 months) or a 12 month good behaviour driving period where you have 1 demerit point for 12 months (a notice to choose).  

If you elect a good behaviour driving period and incur 2 or more demerit points then you may need to apply for a special hardship licence.


Who can apply?

If you have had your licence disqualified by a court in the last five years you are not eligible to apply for a special hardship licence. In most cases, if your licence has been suspended by TMR in the last five years you will also not be able to apply for a special hardship licence unless that suspension related to an unpaid SPER debt.   You must also hold an open or provisional Queensland drivers’ licence to apply for a hardship licence.


What the special hardship order usually states

Generally the special hardship order will have a number of conditions imposed by the magistrate.

Those conditions might include;

  • Restricting the days and hours you can drive

  • Restricting whether you can carry passengers

  • Requiring you to complete a logbook

  • Requiring you to wear your work uniform when driving

  • Restricting who you can work for

  • Restricting the type of driving you can do

  • Restricting the types of vehicle you can drive


Can you apply to vary a current special hardship order?

Yes, you can apply to vary an existing special hardship order.


What might be some reasons I would need to vary a special hardship order?

There are a number of reasons why you might need to seek to vary a special hardship order.  These might include;

  • The hardship order restricts you to a certain employer and you wish to change your job

  • The hardship order restricts the type of driving you are able to do and you a have a new position at work and need to do different driving

  • A family member has become quite sick and you need to drive to take care of them

  • The current order doesn’t allow you to drive with a passenger in the car but your work now requires you to drive an apprentice

  • You are only allowed to drive certain vehicles but your work now requires you to drive a different class of vehicle


How to seek a variation of a special hardship order?

A variation requires you to apply back to the magistrates court closet to where you live to change the order.


What material needs to be filed with the court?

It would, at a minimum, require you to file in court the following;

  1. An affidavit of yourself

  2. An affidavit of your employer (if appropriate)

  3. Variation of special hardship order form


What do I need to prove to the court?

You need to prove that not varying the current special hardship order would cause one or both of the following;

  • extreme hardship to you or your family by depriving you of your means of earning a living

  • severe and unusual hardship to you or your family, other than by depriving you of your means of earning a living.


You also need to prove you are a fit and proper person to continue to drive, having regard to your traffic history and the safety of other road users and the public generally.

In essence you need to prove all the things that you did when you first made the application for a special hardship order plus the reason why the court should now change the current special hardship order.



It is possible to seek to change an existing special hardship order but it requires detailed affidavit’s and information to be filed as well as a court appearance.

It is not possible just to show up at court and seek to have them vary the current order.


Can you help me make an application to vary the hardship licence?

Yes, we absolutely can.


How do I get more information or engage you to act for me? 

If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

  1. Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

  3. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button to the right and leave us a message


We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide information to assist you, if you want to engage us then great, if not then you at least have more information about varying a special hardship order.

You won’t be chased or hounded to engage us.


Need more information?

We have a range of articles on Special Hardship Orders on our blog.  Some of the most recent have included:


Steven Brough

Steven Brough is the Founder of Clarity Law.  He is one of the most experienced traffic lawyers in Queensland having appeared in court many thousands of time throughout Queensland since 2010.  He has authored over 100 articles about every aspect of traffic law in Queensland.

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