• Judge Favours Speedy Trial in L.T.E. Injunction Case
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A N application, described by counsel
of vital importance to transport operators, was made to Mr. Justice Vaisey in the Chancery Division, on Tuesday, when Mr. a R. F. Morris, appearing for Mr. Wilfrid Herbert Smith, of Buntingford, Hens, moved for an interim injunction against the Lonclop. Transport Executive to restrain the Executive from operating a road passenger service between Hitchin and Weston, Herts.
Mr. Morris said that the parties had agreed to treat the motion as dealing with the main issue in the action, which was of vital and nation-wide importance to transport operators, and it was desirable that it should be disposed of without delay.
16 Years' Operation
Mr. Smith operated a road passenger transport service between Hitchin and Weston arid had done so for 16 years.
In February this year the London Transport Executive started to run a bus service over the same route.
Before January 1 this year, the • Executive would have had to. Comply with certain •statutory obligations in order, to obtain a licence to operate the service, but because of changes introduced by the Transport Act; 1947, which nationalized transport throughoutthe country, the Executive now contended that it was entitled to run these services without any obligation to obtain such a licence or to consult those already operating on the rciote.
The 'questions which arose were: (1) • What were the powers of the British Transport Commission created by 'the Act?' (2) What were the powers of the London Transport Executive set up by the Act? (3) What was the scope of section 65 of the Act, under which the Executive purported to operate its new services?
For 16 years Mr. Smith had operated such a service under a licence from the Metrcipolitan Traffic Commissioner and, until February this year, he was the only operator on the HitchinWeston route.
Objected in 1947
His total annual mileage Was approximately 18,000. When, in Mara, 1947, the London Passenger Transport Board proposed to operate a service on the same route he lodged an objection.
Mr. Justice Vaisey: "Is the position this: The London Transport Executive. can run these services completely uncontrolled?"
Mr. Morris: "No. It is not quite that. According to their contention, there is now no obligation on them to make an application to the traffic Licensing Authority in respect of vehicles outside their special area, which is the London Transport area."
Mr. Justice Vaisey: "They can run buses from Liverpool to Manchester?"
Mr. Morris: "Yes, if they are right."
A36 Mr. Justice Vaisey: "For the Grand National they could run a fleet of buses? "
• Mr. Morris: "Yes."
He added that the service in question was outside the London area.
Mr. Justice Vaisey said that he did not like to .decide the. matter on an interlocutory motion. It was really a case for the trial of the action.
Mr. Fox Andrews, K.C., for the Executive, agreed, and said that he was not in a position to give any undertaking.
Mr. Morris stressed that the matter was urgent, because the Transport Commission might extend the practice to other parts of the country. • Mr. Justice Vaisey said that the matter might go to the House of Lords and it was desirable that it should be fully argued.
Mr. Fox Andrews: "It is a matter of very great importance."
Mr. Justice Vaisey: If it is going to affect the whole country, and it is going to be a test case, I should have every possible consideration before me, and I will give you liberty to apply for an early trial of the action."