Important Precedents in Licensing T HE Appeal Tribunal has just completed
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its first year of operation, during which period it has determined some 100 appeals, and is on vacation until about September 14. Various important principles have emerged from the Tribunal's decisions and have been pointed out, from time to time, by The Commercial Motor. In our issue dated January 18 last, we summarized the outstanding appeal decisions that had been announced up to that date, but since then a number of other appeals has been heard and further points of principle have been raised.
Now, therefore, is a suitable time at which briefly to collate some of the more interesting decisions which have been given during the past year, in , order that applicants may, in preparing their cases, be afforded a ready guide to decisions that establish precedents in licensing and which may be of assistance to them.
Grounds of Appeal.
The statutory grounds of appeal are, of course, enumerated in the Road and Rail Traffic Act, 1933, and it is important to remember that, as was made clear in connection with the appeal of the Ewhurst Haulage Co., the reasons stated at the hearing must be those given in the notice of appeal, and must not be changed. The case of Mr. T. Lucas also raised the question of grounds of appeal, from the angle of whether an appeal lodged by the secretary of an association for an -operator is valid.
The onus of proof resting upon new applicants for licences was established in the decision on the appeal of Messrs. J. Enston and Sons, a ruling which has been quoted in practically every appeal. Some of the more interesting cases in which it has been mentioned are those of Mr. E. C. Fry, who satisfied that onus; Mr. R. F. Petrie, in whale appeal the important question of the rights of transport users was raised; and of Messrs. A. Thortiley and Son.
Until recently it was generally thought that the Enston decision related to all applicants—at least for A licences—but, on the appeal of W. H. Hawker, Ltd., the Tribunal emphasized the fact that the Enston ruling applied only to newcomers.The onus resting upon established applicants was defined in the appeal of Messrs. E. and H. Ridgewell.
Those operators who wish to dispense with hiring should first read carefully the Tribunal's decision on the appeal of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Co., and the London and North Eastern Railway Co. versus the Yorkshire Licensing Authority and R. Barr (Leeds), Ltd., known as the Barr case. In this ruling, the Tribunal laid it down that authority to discontinue hiring vehicles should be given only in cases where the, applicant proved that special reasons made it desirable for this power to be granted. The question of hiring was raised also in the appeal of L. V. Ward and Co, Pointers on the admissibility of new evidence are afforded in the decisions on the appeals of Mr. W. H. Taylor and Mr. J. T. Plenty.
Interesting sidelights on the question of licence applications by subsidiary companies are afforded by the decision on the appeal of the 'Linton Chalk and Whiting Co., Ltd. The decision on the appeal of E. K. Cole, Ltd., makes it quite clear that there is no right of appeal against the refusal of a Licensing Authority to grant dispensation from the keeping of records.
Not Good Evidence.
The Barr case brought out several interesting points, one of which is that a submission that additional vehicles are required in order to comply with the law regarding drivers' hours, loading, etc., is not good evidence. The fact that the Tribunal deprecates the practice of the transport of " paying" return loads by manufacturers and traders is shown by the decision on the appeal of Cox and Co.
Operators who are considering the substitution of a vehicle for a trailer (particularly in view of the avowed official dislike for the latter in the West Midland Area) should study the decision on the appeal of Mr. C. J. Randall. In this case, the opera
tor wished to replace a trailer by a vehicle, thus securing two motive units instead of one, but with a lower combined unladen weight than previously.
One of the appeal decisions referring to the position of carriers who leave the business and, later, wish to return to it, is that of the L.M.S. versus the North-Western Licensing Authority and Mr. C. W. Inman.
In seeking licences for vehicles to be employed on local collection and delivery work feeding long-distance railway or road services, it is necessary for evidence to be given showing the need for the proposed facilities in each locality. In this matter, the relevant appeal decisions are those of David Auld and Co. and others versus the L.M.S. and the Southern Scotland Licensing Authority, Mr. S. J. Norman and others versus the Great Western Railway Co. and the Western Licensing Authority, and of Bouts-Tillotson Transport, Ltd.
Duties of Licensing Auihorities.
In at least two decisions, reference is made to the duties of the Licens
ing Authorities, the cases in question
being those of the L.N.E.R. versus the Yorkshire Licensing Authority and Mr. John Brownbridge, and of Bouts-Tillotson Transport, Ltd. The latter appeal decision also dealt at some length with the Vital question of the extent to which a Licensing Authority may consider allegations of rate-cutting by an applicant, and his previous conduct as a carrier of goods, under Section 6 (2) (b) of the 1933 Act.
In the ruling on the appeal of W. H. Hawker, Ltd„ a valuable formula is given, by means of which it is possible to make a reliable assessment of the need for increased tonnage.
With the aid of this brief résumé of appeal decisions, to which, of course, the Licensing Authorities have regard in determining applications, an applicant should be able to study those cases which are parallel with his own and be in a position to quote authoritative precedents for the granting of a licence or variation. The decisions have, of course, appeared in The Commercial Motor, or may be obtained from Sweet and Maxwell, Ltd., 2-3, Chancery Lane, London. W.C.2, which publishes rulings in official collaboration with the Appeal Tribunal. •