Wednesday, March 18, 2009

MIscellaneous Provisions

Nothing much of note happened in my most recent sitting - just a few small transport-related Naughtinesses to punish.

I was however disappointed that it was another of our courtrooms that got the rare chance to exercise our little-known power to rule on the appeal of a taxi owner against the decision of the local authority to revoke their cab licence.

Neither of my experienced colleagues had ever sat on one of those before, and both were totally ignorant of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, under which it seems we have the power to force a local authority to relicence a cabbie, even though they feel they are unsuitable. There's even the possibility of the defrocked cabbie making a further appeal to the High Court.

You've got to love the references in this Act to the older Town Police Clauses Act 1847 which introduced the very concept of licencing taxis into British law. It also gave powers to the police to impound stray cattle and appears to say that it is illegal to fly a kite in the street.

Beats me why it should fall to Magistrates to play the part of an ombudsman to the taxi industry, although I suppose it is a similar decision-process to fielding pub licence appeals. I can't quite believe that none of the governments since 1847 have jumped at the chance to set up a quango like Ofcom to deal with taxi-related matters.

I suggest calling it "Ofmeter" and yes, I'd love to chair it, at a salary of several hundred thousand, with a pension big enough to make everyone in the country hate me.


AndyC said...

I'll join you, it sounds like a good job.

Do we get expenses on a similar scale to MP's?

Oh... I'd like to suggest the acronym "OFCAB" as it is snappier. An invoice for £250,000 from the consultancy firm my daughter owns is already on it's way.

The market research firm run by our cat will be researching the public's trust in OFCAB for a few months... shouldn't come to more than £1.2M.......

AndyC said...

appears to say that it is illegal to fly a kite in the street

No doubt the solicitor in the alleged speeding case would argue that his client was in fact flying the kite in the SKY, not the street.

After all, the street is at ground level. Flying, by definition, is carried out above ground level.

Stan said...

Andy, I very nearly published my expenses on this blog, but decided against it on the grounds that I'd have to black almost all of it to preserve my fragile anonymity.

We can claim an allowance towards for loss of earnings and a mileage allowance for driving to the court, and er .. that's it.

Note that half of all magistrates claim nothing, but those magistates probably eat their own weight in biscuits.

AndyC said...


Maybe I had better not volunteer as a JP after all.

I'd hate for the Courts Service to have to bear the cost of my (not inconsiderable) weight in Rich Teas.