How can a transport operator know what is meant by taking ‘all reasonable steps' to avoid operating unlawfulIy ? In July 2016 I was involved in a Transport case which resulted in the court defining that term for the first time, a ruling which will afffect all future cases.
A Dutch operator had been discovered operating illegally in the UK and their vehicle was impounded. The company applied for the return of the vehicle, arguing that although it knew it was operating illegally, it had ‘taken steps’ to avoid this by applying for a UK licence.
Representing the Government’s Tansport Agency the DVSA, I argued that is was not enough to obtain an Operator’s Licence. The necessary procedures had to be completed to register specific vehicles under that licence before they could be used.
The Court agreed, stating that the company had probably delayed for financial reasons and that the taking of steps meant ‘all those steps that a reasonable owner would take in the circumstances in which they find themselves’. (Van Der Gaag de Lier BV v Driver Vehicle Standards Agency, 2016 UKUT 0345 AAC)
I have a comprehensive understanding of transport issues, having represented not only the DVSA but also Coach and Road Haulage Operators over the last 30 years. If you have a transport issue, give me a call – I may be able to help.