An appeal by a Scottish operator against the revocation of its O-licence by Scottish traffic comissioner (TC) Joan Aitken has been dismissed by the Upper Tribunal.
Last August Aitken revoked the licence of Skene Transport on the grounds of loss of repute and material change of circumstances, also disqualifying its sole director Judith Paterson indefinitely from applying for or holding an operator’s licence in any traffic area.
Paterson and her domestic and business partner Ian Hendry have been before the TCs before. In 1999 Hendry was disqualified from holding or obtaining an O-licence. Both Hendry and Paterson were later involved with a company called Oakmist, which was called to public inquiry (PI) in 2007.
In 2008 it was ruled by the TC that Oakmist was a front for Ian Hendry and the licence was revoked. A subsequent appeal was dismissed.
At the end of 2009 another company, Aberdeen Transport and Services, was incorporated with both Judith Paterson and Ian Hendry among the directors. When it applied for an O-licence it was granted although Hendry’s name was removed from the licence application because he was a disqualified person.
Subsequently, in 2014 Aberdeen Transport and Services licence was also revoked, on financial grounds.
Skene Transport, the subject of the latest appeal, was a separate company which had stopped operating in 2014. However it retained its O-licence and in 2017 the owner agreed to sell Skene Transport to Judith Paterson for £8,000.
In May last year Paterson submitted an online variation application to the TC to change the directors, the transport manager and the correspondence address of Skene.
At a PI about this application last July Aitken made various observations about the application, including the fact that there was a recurrent pattern over years of both Hendry and Paterson “going on and off companies at Companies House and on licences”.
The TC concluded that the application was being used to try and circumvent the revocation and disqualification of Hendry. Aitken therefore disqualified Skene Transport and Judith Paterson indefinitely to reflect the disqualification of Ian Hendry.
The Upper Tribunal agreed with Aitken’s judgement, noting that she had carefully considered the arguments from the appellants and give them due weight.
On Aitken’s judgement the judge of the Upper Tribunal, Marion Caldwell QC, commented: “We find no flaw in her analysis and nothing disproportionate in her conclusions. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.”