Clayton gets his ‘stay’ while tribunal outcome awaited

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Clayton can continue to operate until the Tribunal’s decision
Clayton can continue to operate until the Tribunal’s decision

Judge overrides TC decision on new licence restriction until appeal outcome

Clayton Jones’ request for a restriction on new licences to be lifted has been granted pending the outcome of his appeal.

The decision precedes the Transport Tribunal (TT) appeal, adjourned from July 29 (CBW997), which took place last week (August 10). Clayton had told CBW he appealed previous public inquiry (PI) on the grounds of repute because Traffic Commissioner (TC) for Wales, Nick Jones claimed Clayton had mislead him in a previous PI, calling him a “rogue”. The TC revoked Clayton’s 21-vehicle licence from May 1. The decision of the appeal is awaited.

In April, the TC received a request for a ‘stay’ over the revocation pending appeal and granted one “on the basis of the operator only operating up to 12 not 21 vehicles”. However, the stay was later withdrawn on July 14.

Asked by Clayton’s solicitor on July 29, whether there was a restriction in place, Upper Tribunal Judge Mark Hinchliffe directed him to check the position with the TC.

Clayton’s representatives wrote to Judge Hinchliffe on August 2, stating: “We are seeking a continuum of the stay granted to us by the TC after his decision of April 1. Unless we are able to secure a stay today, 20 people will be made redundant – and people will be deprived of bus services. No issues of maintenance and therefore no issues of safety were considered at the public inquiry.”

Hincliffe’s decision allowing the stay stated: “The Upper Tribunal now has jurisdiction, following the withdrawal of the stay on July 14. There is only a week to go until the full hearing. The ‘terms’ supposedly agreed for the grant of the original stay did not prevent the operator from at least asking to register an additional local service, or indeed, from asking to be released from any undertakings attached to the licence prior to the grant of the stay.

“In all the circumstances I am prepared to direct that the decision of the TC dated April 1, 2011 shall not have effect until the appeal is disposed of.”

However, Judge Hinchliffe warned this was not indicative of the hearing’s outcome: “But the operator should not see this as any indication of the likely outcome and, in my judgement, the operator would be unwise to implement any significant changes to its services at this uncertain time.”

Clayton said he had given the TT 1,146 documents to review.