Traffic Commissioner Appeal

Vocational Drivers

Part IV of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as amended) gives Traffic Commissioners the responsibility to consider, based on their conduct, the suitability of drivers who hold, or apply to hold, LGV & PCV licences. In the case of LGV holders or applicants “conduct” refers only to conduct as a driver of a motor vehicle, whilst for PCV holders or applicants it also refers to any other matter relevant to the holding of a PCV licence. 

A Traffic Commissioner will deal with many cases by correspondence, rather than requiring an application or a vocational licence holder to attend a hearing. If you are given the option to attend, the hearing is relatively informal and you will be expected to explain the circumstances surrounding the issue of your conduct. Any training or development you have completed can be helpful. 

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Traffic Commissioner will decide whether to issue a formal warning, suspension, revocation or disqualification (either time-limited or indefinite).  

If you wish to appeal against a Traffic Commissioners decision you should appeal to your local Magistrates or Sheriffs Court. This should be lodged within six months of the decision. 

That hearing will then be listed for hearing at the Magistrates Court and will involve both the solicitor attending on behalf of the Traffic Commissioner (or Secretary of State) and you making submissions regarding the appropriateness of the outcome. Ordinarily, you would prepare submissions prior to the listing of your case, in order to shorten matters on the day. For this reason, the Magistrates may decide that they want to have a Case Management hearing in order to understand the issues and get an idea of how long the case may take to determine. 

On the day of your appeal, as you are the applicant, then normally you would make your submissions first. Although the Traffic Commissioner will not attend, they will instruct a representative. 

After hearing the submissions orally, the Magistrates will normally give a decision on the day. It is a matter for you whether you wish to give evidence. 

Get in touch for a quote you for the lodging of your appeal or representation before the Magistrates. 
 
Transport Managers

The Road Transport Operator Regulations 2011 now give Transport Managers a right of appeal to the Upper Tribunal against an order made in respect of repute and/or professional competence. The same act allows the Traffic Commissioner to stay (or ‘halt’) that order pending appeal. If that application is refused you can still make the request for a stay to the Upper Tribunal. 
 
Impounding Appeals

If the Traffic Commissioner upholds the decision to impound the vehicle, you can appeal against that decision to the Upper Tribunal. Again, this must (normally) be lodged within one month of the decision. 

The Upper Tribunal Secretariat will send notification of the appeal to the relevant Office of the Traffic Commissioner. If no appeal has been lodged after this time, the vehicle may be sold or disposed of. 

If you inform the Traffic Commissioner of your intention to appeal, they should notify the DVSA area office in order to prevent your vehicle being disposed of. 
 
We can assist you in appealing against a decision which you regard as unjust and accessing all of the relevant preparatory materials to put forward your case in the best possible way. 
Operator Licence Holders


A licence holder, transport manager, applicant or statutory objector who is dissatisfied with a Traffic Commissioner’s decision can appeal to the Administrative Appeals Chamber of the Upper Tribunal. 


There is a form to be completed, which should (usually) be submitted within one month of the Traffic Commissioner’s decision being published. 


The length of time is takes for a hearing to be listed has been extended quite significantly in recent years, making the application to stay the effect of the Traffic Commissioner’s decision all the more important.  That application would be made initially to the Traffic Commissioner, but failing that to the Upper Tribunal. 

It is necessary to bear in mind that such an appeal is not, for example, the equivalent of a Crown Court hearing an appeal against conviction from a Magistrates Court, where the case effectively begins all over again and is simply reheard. Instead, an appeal before the Upper Tribunal takes the form of a review of the material before the Traffic Commissioner. 

 

It is also important to note that you bear the burden of showing that the decision under appeal is wrong and that, in order to succeed, you must show that “the process of reasoning and the application of the relevant law require the tribunal to adopt a different view”.  Put another way, it might be said that in order to succeed you have to demonstrate to the Upper Tribunal that a decision of the Traffic Commissioner was “plainly wrong”.

The Tribunal has the power to hear and determine all matters (whether of law or of fact). They may then make “such order as it thinks fit”; or remit the matter to a different traffic commissioner for rehearing. 

CE Transport Law | Specialists in UK road transport law 
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