Following discovery of emails via FOI requests, Clayton Jones claims TC has acted as an “unpaid legal adviser”
Controversial bus operator Clayton Jones has called on new transport secretary Justine Greening to sack the Traffic Commissioner (TC) for Wales, claiming the TC was offering unpaid legal advice to a council which wanted his licence revoked.
As reported in CBW at the time, earlier this year the TC, Nick Jones, ruled Clayton Jones, whose Heart of Wales bus operation, which trades as St David’s Travel, and runs services in the South Wales Valleys, had lost his repute following a number of infringements and should have his O-licence revoked.
Clayton Jones was also ordered to pay a financial penalty of nearly £10,000. Part of the judgement was later overruled upon appeal to the Upper Tribunal. Clayton Jones’ licence was restored, although the financial penalty stood.
Now, Clayton Jones is unhappy with the contents of an email disclosed to him between TC the transport manager of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, Charlie Nelson. The advice suggested it may be possible for public bodies to make representations to the Upper Tribunal. Other emails between council officers show they were happy with the TC’s decision to revoke the licence.
In a letter to the Transport Secretary shown to CBW, Clayton Jones wrote: “I was forced to spend nearly £50k of my own money in order to take my case to the Upper Tribunal, which found in my favour.
“It is not recoverable, although I would have been awarded costs for a comparable action in the ordinary courts. Having sought further light on the episode through a Freedom of Information request, I discovered that the Traffic Commissioner had been in correspondence with certain officials. In effect, he had been acting as an unpaid legal adviser to one party in the case, and that in a matter where these officials were required to act in a quasi-judicial manner. As well as being contrary to the nemo judex rule, this conduct is clearly in breach of procedure.”
A spokeswoman for the TC said Mr Nick Jones did not feel it was appropriate to comment.