If you find yourself charged with a breach of the Heavy Vehicle
National Law (HVNL) (or any other law, for that
matter), you have several options.
You can 'pay the fine or take the time'. You can plead
not guilty or, in some circumstances, you might be able to ask the
prosecutor to drop the charges by making 'a
representation'. A representation is a way of appealing to a
prosecutor and suggesting that perhaps he or she should reconsider
Prosecutors have limited resources and only bring proceedings if
they believe they will win. Obviously, they cannot prosecute every
breach of every law so they must exercise their discretion about
what charges they bring. The touchstone is that it should be in the
public interest to bring the charges.
Making a representation is not necessarily a way of asserting
innocence, but it should be a submission that states it is not in
the public interest to pursue the charges.
In making a representation, you may submit that:
it was a minor breach, or entirely out of character, and hence
not in the public interest to prosecute;
there is some technical flaw in the charge or evidence, so the
prosecution may well fail; or
in the case of Chain of Responsibility (CoR),
there is some other, more culpable party on whom the prosecution
should focus. Also that it is in the public interest to pursue the
person who caused the breach, not the person who was a victim of
3 reasons to take care when making representations
Some caution should be exercised in making representations,
You may be showing your hand to the prosecutor.
Prosecutors take their responsibilities very seriously and
don't necessarily welcome being told how to do their job.
Representations must be expressed carefully and respectfully.
Representations rarely succeed, and you must disclose some
powerful policy considerations before they will stand a
This publication does not deal with every important topic or
change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute
for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's
specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of
interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice
relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named
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The Australian High Court was recently given an opportunity to consider the reach of the Damage by Aircraft Act 1999 (Cth) in the cases of ACQ Pty Limited v Cook and Aircare Moree Pty Limited v Cook (both of which were heard together).
Given the importance on both contracts and terms of consignment under the HVNL, the safest way is to put it in writing.
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