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Old 8th Oct 2017, 05:21   #1 (permalink)
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Heart of Darkness
Posts: 1,700
Advice on dealing with dispute with CAA

I would be grateful for any advice or comments regarding a dispute that I have with the CAA.

I previously held a CAA JAA PPL. In 2008, during an IMC rating renewal check, I asked the examiner to assess my English proficiency. He issued me with an SRG1199, stating that my proficiency was level 6 (native speaker).

Subsequently, I did an EASA CPL in France. The DGAC refused to recognise the SRG1199 and said that I would have to do their own English language assessment. This seemed very petty to me - especially as they awarded me level 6 French on my licence without ever testing me in that language! I refused on principal to take their exam, and so for many years just had no English proficiency marked on my licence. This has never been a problem, since anybody with an ounce of common sense could hear that I am a native speaker within a minute of talking to me. However, last year the DGAC refused to issue new licences unless English proficiency was tested. This would be a lot of expense for me, since it would require an overnight trip to Paris (since Paris is the only exam centre that can award level 6 in France), plus exam fees etc.

I calculated that it would be cheaper just to convert my DGAC licence to a CAA licence. I therefore rang the CAA and asked for advice how to do this. I checked with them repeatedly that my SRG1199 was valid, and they repeatedly told me that yes, I was annotated as level 6 in their system, and it would not be necessary to do a further English test.

I therefore went ahead and started the conversion process. However, after I had paid all their fees and transferred all my medical records (which required partial translation), the CAA then wrote to me and said that they had discovered that my SRG1199 was not actually valid!

They informed me that this was because the examiner who evaluated my English proficiency had not, at that time in 2008, had his own English proficiency evaluated, and could not therefore evaluate me!

As they have taken five months to tell me this, I am now in a difficult position as I am due back at work in Africa in one month, and have no valid licence. It is now more expedient to keep my DGAC licence, and just do the English proficiency at a local exam centre in France (who can only award up to level 5).

I therefore asked the CAA to reimburse me all the money that I have paid them, since they effectively lied to me about the validity of my SRG1199, and should never have put it into their system.

Quite unbelievably the CAA have now written to me and told me that they will not pay back the money I have given them, since it is "my own responsibility" to check that I meet all the requirements for transfer of licence. Is there any way that I could have checked that my SRG1199 is valid, other than to ask them?

Obviously I am pretty darned angry about this - but is there anything that I can do to get my money back?

Last edited by Trim Stab; 8th Oct 2017 at 05:32.
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Old 8th Oct 2017, 10:33   #2 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Cumbria
Posts: 232
TrimStab..... What an amazing story just goes to show what alot of nonsence the English proficientcy thing, remember when all this came in my IR examiner said he would have to evaluate my English, I am a native speaker. The point is that at the begining of my career I passed and was issued with a Flight Radio Telephoney Licence, why can that not give you level 6 across.

In relation to your money. My experience of government organisations can be very difficult to deal with on legal matters as can some large coporate organisations. The people you deal with in admin have little knowledge in law. It might be worth thinking about if there is an ombudsman in relation to the CAA. I find it difficult that the CAA are blamimg you as the regulations are confusing to say the least. Your next option is to put them on notice via a formal letter, you can attach a small claims form in draft form, available online as court form C1 at HMCS. It needs the court stamp before it goes into the legal system, but it shows you mean business. Another option is to complain to the chief executive. You might ask you bank, as they might be able to claw back the money until the matter is resolved, my bank santander have don this for me on two occassions.

I hope that gives you a few ideas.
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Old 8th Oct 2017, 11:05   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Heart of Darkness
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Since writing my initial post, I found in previous email correspondence from CAA that they confirmed in writing to me that my SRG1199 is valid:

Dear Sir

Thank you for your email.

I can confirm that the pilot XXXXX XXXXXXXXX holds a level 6 English Language Proficiency. This rating is valid for life.

D.o.b.: ??/??/????
Licence Number: ?????????

If you have any queries relating to this email please contact our Licensing Team on 0044 1293 573700, or alternatively refer to our website at Licences and other approvals | UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Yours sincerely,

Flight Crew Licensing Team
Licensing & Training Standards
Civil Aviation Authority

Obviously personal details edited out. So I am just astonished that they now claim that their administrative error is my fault. How could I possibly verify the validity of my SRG1199, other than by asking the CAA? Really absurd....

For the record, here are there other emails, also with personal details edited out.


Unfortunately we are unable to proceed with your licence due to the following reason(s):-

On reassessment of your licence it has come to light that you do not hold a current English Language Proficiency. You have submitted an assessment completed in May 2008 and signed off as a Level 6 by an english examiner (XXXXXXX) but unfortunately on checking our records this examiner was not granted Level 6 ELP until April 2015 therefore he could not have signed you off in 2008 as he did not hold a level 6 at that time. Therefore this will have to be renewed before your Change of State can processed

You are required to comply with the above outstanding requirements within a period of 30 working days, from the date of this email, otherwise your application will be cancelled, personal items returned and a fee for the initial assessment will be charged, which is currently at 108 as per our scheme of charges. We will also charge a CAA refund Policy fee of 25.00. This information is available on our website at List of Official Record Series 5 - Scheme of Charges.

Customers are required to comply with all licence requirements before applying for a licensing service. Your application will be held in our pending section for the above period.

Should the initial cost of the entire application be less than the assessment fee, then the full fee will be considered as the cancellation charge and you will not be entitled to a refund.

Please note that on receipt of your outstanding documentation, Personnel Licensing will endeavour to process your application within 10 working days.
If you have any queries relating to this letter, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service Team on 01293-573700. For other licensing information, please visit our web site at www.caa.co.uk/pld.

Yours sincerely

After I rang them to complain at the utter absurdity of this refusal, they originally agreed to refund all the money that I had paid them, plus money that I had paid to the DGAC to transfer my records to them, since I would never have started the transfer process if they had not originally told me that my SRG1199 was valid. However, a few days later, I received this email:

Thank you for your recent e mail in relation to the transfer of your licence to the UK.

With regards to para 1 of your e mail, it is the individuals responsibility to ensure they meet all the requirements for issue of a UK licence before applying for a licensing service. Therefore we are unable to refund all the fees mentioned in your e mail. If you wish to cancel your application you will be refunded any fees already paid, minus the assessment fee which is currently 108. If you wish a refund of any other fees you will have to contact the relevant department/organisation which in this case is the UK CAA Medical Department and the DGAC.

To contact the UK CAA Medical Department please contact them by either calling (01293) 573700, pressing the option for medical or alternatively contact them at Civil Aviation Authority. Please also contact them with regards to your request to have your medical details transferred back to Toulon.

With kind regards

Quite obviously I can't expect the DGAC to give me back the money I have paid to them, and probably the CAA Medical Department will not comply either.
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Old 8th Oct 2017, 12:04   #4 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Bressuire
Posts: 7
Trim Stab

this is very simple to resolve if you have access to a CAA examiner. All you need is the language verification section of your application form signing. If the CAA have your form then you only need to send again the relevant page (containing the certificate to be completed) to be added to your application; then job done. There is also a dedicated form which can be downloaded and again only a signature is required, although the form does not make this clear.

I am a current UK examiner living in France. PM me
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Old 8th Oct 2017, 13:44   #5 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 5,392
They informed me that this was because the examiner who evaluated my English proficiency had not, at that time in 2008, had his own English proficiency evaluated, and could not therefore evaluate me!
Complete nonsense. All RTF Examiners were authorised to conduct ELP Assessments by letter in December 2005. All other Examiners were authorised by PLD as a block early in 2008 without any requirement for them to have ELP on their own licences. If you go to a school to do ELP, the tutors will not even have licences let alone ELP on them! Check your PMs
but is there anything that I can do to get my money back?
Regulation 6 Appeal re the licence issue. A lot of BCPL holders were given bad advice by the CAA a few years ago, I don't believe any got their money back.
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Old 8th Oct 2017, 15:04   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Bressuire
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Whopity is spot on regarding the history. The current CAA staff do not know their own history. The CAA will try to keep your money but you have it in writing from them that they were wrong and had mislead you. They must refund your money or at least extend the thirty days if that is a help.

I see that Whopity has pm'd you. You will get good advice. If Whopity has a copy of the 2008 letter to hand and he can let you have a copy it should suffice but don't count too much on it, they don't believe their own letters at times.

I am a current UK CAA Flight Examiner, living in France and can sign your certificate if that will help. PM me if you wish
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Old 21st Oct 2017, 14:12   #7 (permalink)
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: England
Posts: 117
Aaah, the CAA. They used to be so good, in many respects, but now they seem to have lost all the experienced people, and are staffed with newcomers who have not had the benefit of a proper induction course, or handover.
I have been a flight and RT examiner for many years. About 10 years ago, I asked FCL (on the phone) to upgrade me to level 6, since, for some reason, they put me at level 4.
"Ah. When the new categories were introduced, we automatically gave everyone level 4. You ARE level 4".
Me. "So, have a look at my profile, you will see that I am an examiner, and I can give people level 6 (only). What is the logic there, that I am automatically only level 4?"
FCL. "Ah.... Just a minute, I will upgrade you to level 6".

It could be that the original person who certified you as level 6 was a victim of this broad-brush treatment, and the stupid CAA system didn't allow for that, as in my case.

If you think I can help in any way, please pm me.
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Old 21st Oct 2017, 15:04   #8 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 5,392
All RTF Examiners were authorised by the CAA to grant ELP Level 6 in a letter Ref 10D/5/7/1 dated 15th Dec 2005. At a later date in 2006, FCL Policy evaluated all other SP Examiners so that they could be authorised to sign off ELP as a part of Flight Test administration.

By the time ELP became a requirement in 2008, every pilot should have been signed off several times. It seems the forms had been filed, but nobody had bothered to extract the relevant information, which of course was never entered onto a National or JAA licence, hence the blanket granting of Level 4. This was initially claimed to be a grandfather right, but traditionally grandfather rights do not expire!

To suggest an Examiner was not qualified to issue an ELP simply highlights how the CAA has lost control of its regulatory responmsibilities. The following extract came from a CAA email to Examiners:
Dear All,
Recent emails, together with the new form attached, have been accordingly sent to the UK SE community, however it seems that some of these may have been inapplicably directed to areas of the Industry such as the SPA / Sailplane / PPL / GA groups, where Doc 24A and associated requirements do not as yet apply.

It would be helpful in the extreme, therefore, to assist in avoiding further misunderstanding, if you could respond confirming your specific SE area of operations.
An indication the CAA has no idea what its Examiners do!
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