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High Court Stay of Traffic Commissioner’s Decisions Pending Appeal

In October 2017 the West Midlands Traffic Commissioner revoked a Bus Operator’s licence, removed the Operator’s Repute and disqualified him. His application to the Traffic Commissioner for a Stay of those decisions pending appeal was refused, as was his subsequent application for a Stay to the Upper Tribunal.

Simon Clarke advised an urgent application to the High Court for interim relief pending the hearing of the appeal before the Upper Tribunal. It was submitted that the Upper Tribunal Judge had not properly applied the principles governing Stays, as set out in the case of Ptarmigan Solutions (Digest, p.120).

The background facts of the matter were these:  The parties wanted to attend the Public Inquiry, with documents to assist them to make their case, as per the call-in letter. However, a delay due to traffic, which was communicated to the Traffic Commissioner, meant that they arrived some 25 minutes late for the start of their scheduled inquiry.

Within those 25 minutes the Traffic Commissioner had commenced, adjourned, re-commenced and ruled on the case. An impassioned plea to the Traffic Commissioner to reopen the concluded inquiry fell on deaf ears.

An application for a stay was made to the TC later that same day but denied;an application was made to the Upper Tribunal for a stay, which was also denied.

The thrust of the JR application relied on the decision in the leading case of Ptarmigan Solutions, regarding the granting of stays. In Ptarmigan Solutions, the Upper Tribunal said that there should be an “…unfettered right to appeal decisions made by the traffic commissioners….” And that, where there were arguable grounds of appeal, a Stay should usually be granted.

On the eve of the day upon which the revocations were set to take effect, the Honourable Mrs Justice Yip granted Stays of all of the Traffic Commissioner’s decisions, stating that the guidance set out in Ptarmigan Solutions could not been seen to have been applied by the Upper Tribunal

It remains to be seen how the Upper Tribunal Appeal turns out, but Simon Clarke has at least ensured that the operator and transport manager can keep operating until the appeal is heard, and that the Upper Tribunal remains a fair and just arena.

Case Details

Case Name: High Court Stay of Traffic Commissioner’s Decisions Pending Appeal
Case Date: December 2017
Case Type (info): Judicial Review

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