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Representation at Traffic Commissioner’s Public Inquiry

Cartwright King’s Transport solicitors have a vast amount of experience in successfully defending Operators, Directors, Transport Managers and Drivers who are called to a Public Inquiry. For a no obligation, free initial consultation please contact us on 0808 168 5550 or email

What is a Public Inquiry?

There are eight regional offices of the Traffic Commissioners which govern the use and regulation of all goods vehicle operators’ licenses throughout the UK. 

A Public Inquiry is the forum in which the Traffic Commissioner exercises his or her powers. There are generally three types of Public Inquiry:

  • New O Licence applications.
  • Applications to vary existing O Licenses.
  • Regulatory sanction hearings against an Operator, Transport Manager or professional driver where they have been found to have failed in their duties and obligations including compliance with implied and express Undertakings.

A Public Inquiry is a formal hearing in which evidence may be called to help the Traffic Commissioner reach his or her decision. If you are "called in" to attend a Public Inquiry, you will receive a “call-in” letter from the Office of the Traffic Commissioner overseeing the region in which you operate. This letter will set out the issues to be considered by the Traffic Commissioner in the Public Inquiry and will identify any additional information you need to provide to assist with the decision making process.

Why have I been called in?

When deciding whether to issue, vary, suspend, or revoke an Operator's Licence, Traffic Commissioners must satisfy themselves that the Operator and, in the case of a Limited Company, any director is:

•    of Good Repute 
•    has appropriate Financial Standing 
•    is Professionally Competent 

Transport Mangers must also be of a Good Repute and Professionally Competent. 

All Operators must run their vehicles from one or more Operating Centres: these must be fit for purpose, environmentally sounds and approved for use as such by the commissioner. Objections to both the location and suitability of a proposed Operating Centre can be raised by any interested party and the Traffic Commissioner must consider those objections: he or she may refuse an application or add conditions and restrictions to the use of an Operating Centre. 

In addition, the Traffic Commissioner will also consider:

•    Alleged breaches of an operator’s undertakings.
•    The level and extent of knowledge and control exercised by the senior members of the operator’s business 
•    The conduct of drivers, and in this respect the culpability of the operator in driver infractions 
•    Any steps taken by the operator to remedy and shortcoming or failing

The Traffic Commissioner will often hear formal evidence about you or your business from trained DVSA Traffic and Vehicle Examiners before reaching his or her decision.

Should I be worried?

Appearing before the Traffic Commissioner is a serious and often life changing experience. The quality, content and completeness of your presentation may fundamentally affect whether or not you succeed; in some cases it can determine whether or not you continue to trade. 

Ultimately, the Traffic Commissioner can refuse to grant your application or variation, curtail the scope of your O licence, suspend it or revoke it completely. Other powers permit the Traffic Commissioner to disqualify Directors, Transport Managers and Drivers from having any association with the operation of an Operator's Licence or LGV. 

How we can help

Ensuring that your case is properly prepared and that you are properly represented is vital in giving yourself the best opportunity to succeed. Cartwright King’s Road Transport lawyers have a proven record in providing expert representation before the Traffic Commissioners. Our lawyers will:

  • Meet with you to understand the needs of your business and the context of your Public Inquiry.
  • Where necessary, introduce you to expert witnesses to support you before the Traffic Commissioner.
  • Guide you through the process and identify what steps you need to take to ensure that on the day the strongest possible arguments can be put forwards.
  • Formally represent you or your business before the Traffic Commissioner, presenting your evidence and arguing your case in professional terms, well understood and acknowledged by the Commissioner. This includes identifying to the Commissioner the appropriate statutory provisions and regulations, the Senior Traffic Commissioner's Statutory Directions and Guidance and any relevant case law.

Our fees

We offer a no obligation, free initial consultation to asses your situation. We are also completely transparent about our fees. We will sit down with you and set out all the costs involved before any action takes place.

How to get in contact

Simon Clarke is a Director and Head of Transport Law at Cartwright King. Simon and his national team of Transport Solicitors are on hand to provide you with any legal advice or representation you should need it.

To organise a no obligation, free initial consultation please telephone 0808 168 5550 or email

We can meet you at a location and time to suit you which can be away from our offices. Alternatively we have offices We also have a network of offices in BirminghamBedfordDerbyLeedsLeicesterLondon TempleManchesterMiddlesbroughNorthamptonNottingham and Sheffield.

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