A tribunal has set aside a traffic commissioner’s decision that a nominated transport manager should lose his repute and be disqualified after finding that he had not yet been appointed to the role.
Scotland’s former TC Joan Aitken decided that Steven Lambie had been complicit in circumventing a previous revocation and disqualification order for Firstline International and attempting to transfer the operation to new company Overland Transport in Motherwell.
Following a public inquiry in 2018, the TC described Overland as “not so much a phoenix as a cuckoo’s nest arrangement”, in which Firstline’s directors William and Steven Lambie and company secretary Melanie Lambie used Overland’s director Richard Quinn and his business as a means to continue Firstline’s operation.
She said it could not be coincidental that Overland, which had been granted a standard international licence for seven HGVs and seven trailers, was incorporated and began trading just as Firstline’s O-licence was due to be revoked.
However, Steven Lambie appealed the decision to remove his repute and disqualify him for five years given that he had not yet be appointed as Overland’s transport manager.
In his appeal to the upper tribunal he explained that he was not saying that the TC was wrong about Overland, but that she had been incorrect in disqualifying him.
Marion Caldwell QC, judge of the upper tribunal, said it could find no fault with the matters which the traffic commissioner considered relevant in assessing the appellant’s repute.
She said it was clear that TC formed the view that Steven Lambie did not have the repute to be a transport manager and she had provided cogent reasons for this.
But the judge added: “However, what the traffic commissioner decided was that the appellant had ‘lost his repute.’
“That was not a decision that could be made in respect of a person who was not an existing transport manager.”
Regarding the decision on Lambie’s repute, the tribunal said: “We set it aside and substitute a finding that he did not meet the requirement of good repute.”
And it added: “The traffic commissioner then disqualified the appellant for five years. As the appellant was not an existing transport manager, the traffic commissioner had no power to disqualify him.
“We therefore set aside the traffic commissioner’s decision disqualifying the appellant.”