St Pauls Chambers are able to represent any party who is required to attend a traffic commissioner public inquiry.
Traffic commissioners are the officials in charge of operating licenses for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs); there is one for each region of the UK, and they are assisted by deputy traffic commissioners.
If you or your client have been called to a traffic commissioner public inquiry, it may be beneficial to enlist specialist public inquiry representation.
A traffic commissioner public inquiry is a type of disciplinary hearing that might be called if someone has objected to the granting of a license, or the traffic commissioner believes that an operator might have broken the terms of their license.
The proceedings are inquisitorial, and the commissioner will decide the weight to be put on any part of the evidence adduced before them. The inquiry might be opened for several reasons, including:
A public inquiry with the traffic commissioner’s office takes place in court to gather more evidence before deciding what action to take.
The regulatory proceedings will be instigated by the commissioner’s office sending a letter, commonly called a ‘calling in’ letter, requiring an operator or a driver to attend a public inquiry. This will set out, in general terms, the nature of the alleged breach of the license and set out a timetable for the making of any written submissions and the lodging of any documents, such as maintenance records or bank statements.
The proper preparation of these written submissions may persuade the commissioner that it is no longer necessary for a public inquiry to be held.
It’s likely for the calling in letter to be followed by documents that set out the evidence that constitutes the alleged breach in greater detail.
Public inquiries with the traffic commissioner are typically open to the public who are able to come in and watch. However, in certain circumstances, the traffic commissioner may decide that holding a private hearing is in the interests of a fair case.
The commissioner has wide-ranging powers if they are satisfied that the terms of the license have been breached or that an operator or driver is not a fit and proper person. The traffic commissioner can:
Transport public inquiry results can have severe implications for the business or individual concerned. With this in mind, it is vital that you seek public inquiry representation from an experienced solicitor or barrister versed in traffic commissioner cases.
At the inquiry, a defendant can represent themselves or ask a lawyer to represent them. They will be asked to present their case and to answer any questions. If your client’s case is complex or requires further advocation, appointing a barrister as their public inquiry representation may be in the client’s best interests to achieve a favourable result.
At St Pauls Chambers, our team of road transport lawyers has tenure in representing parties during traffic commissioner public inquiries.
The lead of our traffic commissioner public inquiries team, James Lake, is a specialist barrister in this field and has extensive experience defending operators, directors, transport managers and individuals. James is based in Leeds, where the North-East of England traffic commissioner office is situated, and he is able to travel to cover cases in other regions. He has represented notable companies, including Poundstretcher and Hallmark.
James makes himself entirely available to instructing solicitors and prioritises attention to detail and preparation.
If you would like to instruct St Pauls Chambers for traffic commissioner public inquiry representation, please get in touch today.
Chambers is centrally located within walking distance of the train station, secure car parks and the Courts.
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