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The Transport Act for Layman and Lawyer

1st January 1954, Page 57
1st January 1954
Page 57
Page 57, 1st January 1954 — The Transport Act for Layman and Lawyer
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

By T. G. Field-Fisher The Transport Act, 1953," by David Karmel, Q.C., and Kenneth Potter, M.A. (Butterworths, 27s. 6d.)., The Transport Act, 1953," by H. S. Vian-Smith (Iliffc and Sons, Ltd.,

12s. 6d.).

"Road Haulage Licensing," by T. D. Corpe, O.B.E. (Sweet and Maxwell, 35s.).

IT was inevitable that, when the Transport Act, 1953, plunged the road haulage industry into a welter of reorganization for the second time in six years, there should be an immense number of legal problems—apart from those of an economic or administrative kind—upon which the industry as a whole would need sound advice_ These three books—the first two directly on the Act, and the third dealing with it only in relation to the more general picture, as its title implies—are different attempts to satisfy that need, and each, to a greater or lesser extent, in its own way succeeds, but none can be regarded as a serious rival to the others.

Mr. Karmers book is by far the most detailed examination of the Transport Act, 1953, yet published. Preceded by an excellent 50-page introduction, the whole of the Act is then set out and fully annotated, section by section. The method is strictly analytical, and apart from the introduction, which makes easy reading and provides a firstclass review of the scope of the Act, few but a trained lawyer would find themselves entirely at home with the mass of comment and explanation and cross-referencing which accompanies each section.

There is also—perhaps inevitably—a good deal of repetition and unnecessary verbiage about this part of the book. Some of the notes in particular seem unneCessary, as though the learned authors have been over-keen to put the matter beyond doubt. For instance, on page 58 it is noted under "difference of opinion" among members of the Road Haulage Disposal Board, that "only one dissentient vote is necessary to create a difference of opinion "!

The appendices include extracts from most of the other relevant statutes and regulations, although perhaps the omission of the British Transport Commission (Pensions of Employees) Regulations. 1953, is unfortunate.

Mr. Vian-Smith's hook is on a smaller and—in a sense—less ambitious scale, although one Cannot help feeling that in some ways the author is either grappling with a task that is beyond him or failing to grapple at all. The text amounts to no more than 75 pages and the Act itself is reproduced as an appendix.

The author attempts little more than a paraphrase of the Act, without any noticeable success in clarity for a lay reader and . with some startling inaccuracies. The map in Appendix IV is completely wrong, the map shadings showing the opposite of what—presumably—was intended. The London Special Area is that part of the London Passenger Transport Area falling within the London Traffic Area (nol outside it, as illustrated).

The index is curiously ineffective in both layout and detail, and as—to quote the blurb—" few people are better qualified to explain the purpose" of the Act than the author, he should have done better than this.

The third book is different in aim, scope and execution, because it does not confine its attention to an exposition of the provisions of the new Act. It is intended to be, and has every appearance of being, a complete guide to the procedure and practice of road haulage licensing. The author does not shirk awkward questions even with little to guide him, and both those engaged in the road haulage industry and their legal advisers will find much to like about the style and layout of the text.

Included in the appendix are the Transport Tribunal Rules and necessary forms and the Licences and Prohibitions Regulations, in addition to the whole text of the Transport Act. 1953, and the other relevant Acts This seems a wholly admirable book and one that can be unieserved4 recommended.

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