Draft regulations allocating bus service appeals to the Scottish Tribunals: consultation

Closed 27 Oct 2023

Opened 7 Aug 2023


A consultation on allocating appeal functions to the Upper Tribunal for Scotland. This would include transferring certain appeal functions of the Transport Tribunal under the Transport (Scotland) Act 2001, and allocating new appeal functions relating to bus services improvement partnerships. The consultation also includes proposed new rules governing the composition and procedure of the Upper Tribunal when hearing those appeals.

The Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014 ("the 2014 Act") creates a new, simplified statutory framework for tribunals in Scotland, bringing existing tribunal jurisdictions together and providing a structure for new jurisdictions. The 2014 Act includes powers allowing Ministers to make regulations to transfer the functions and members of a listed tribunal into the new structures. 

The 2014 Act created the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland ("First-tier Tribunal") and the Upper Tribunal for Scotland ("Upper Tribunal"), known collectively as the Scottish Tribunals.  The First-tier Tribunal is divided into chambers with regard to subject matter and other relevant factors.  

Under section 39(1) of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2001 (“the 2001 Act”), the Traffic Commissioner may impose financial penalties on bus operators who fail to comply with certain statutory requirements. An operator may appeal to the Transport Tribunal against the imposition of such a penalty. The intention is to transfer the appeal functions under section 39 of the 2001 Act that relate to devolved matters, and are currently exercised by the UK Transport Tribunal, to the Upper Tribunal.

The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 (“the 2019 Act”) provides a new type of statutory partnership model in the form of bus services improvement partnerships (“BSIPs”). BSIPs involve local transport authorities formulating a plan with bus operators in their area aimed at improving bus services in the area.

A key part of this model is the setting of a range of service standards which all qualifying local operators within the area of the BSIP must comply with. The Traffic Commissioner can refuse an application for registration by an operator who, in the Commissioner’s opinion, is unable to comply with the applicable operational service standards. The Traffic Commissioner can also cancel the registration of a service where the Commissioner considers that the service is not being provided in accordance with the service standard. 

An appeals process must be put in place for operators and local transport authorities to appeal against the service standards decisions of the Traffic Commissioner. It has been decided to route this into the Scottish Tribunals rather than the Transport Tribunal and to transfer the devolved appeal functions for section 39 of the 2001 Act at the same time. This allows the Transport Tribunal to be wound up for Scotland. The intention is for these appeals to also be allocated to the Upper Tribunal.

Read the consultation paper.

Why your views matter

The intention is for these bus service related appeals to be transferred and allocated to the Upper Tribunal for Scotland. 

As part of that process we are seeking views on the regulations allocating these functions to the Scottish Tribunals, and the proposed rules governing the composition and procedure of the Upper Tribunal when hearing those appeals.

What happens next

 Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, and after we have checked that they contain no potentially defamatory material, responses will be made available to the public at https://consult.gov.scot/ 

If you use Citizen Space to respond, you will receive a copy of your response via email.

Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us. Responses will be published where we have been given permission to do so.


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