Public Inquiry

Operator Licence holders
You may have to attend a public inquiry if:
  • Someone has objected to your application for a licence or a change to your licence

  • It is alleged that you haven’t kept to the conditions of your licence, eg you’ve used more vehicles than permitted

  • There are environmental concerns about a goods vehicle operating centre on your licence

  • Your conduct has come into question, eg you’ve been caught using a mobile phone while driving

It is surprising how many public inquiries are actually started by the operator themselves! Most operators do not appreciate that if they apply for an increase in their vehicle authorisation, or a variation to their operating centre, this is likely to result in a visit from the DVSA. 

That result can impact positively on the application, but if it occurs at a time when the operator is already stretched to the limit, it may reveal shortcomings in the way they are dealing with compliance. 

Traffic Commissioners will be guided by the decisions of the Appellate Jurisdiction (the Upper Tribunal) to try and ensure consistency in reaching their own decisions. 

We have been representing Operators at Public Inquiry for over 10 years and have appeared in all of the traffic areas in the United Kingdom. We believe you will be satisfied that what we offer is professional guidance for a sensible price. 

CE Transport Law UK | Public Inquiry Specialism
Transport Managers

Since December 2011, Traffic Commissioners (TCs) have had the power to call transport managers to Public Inquiry in their own right. We are frequently instructed to represent Transport Managers who have been called up separately to the Operator, and in some case years after the shortcomings alleged took place. 

The regulations require that designated transport managers must:

  • be of good repute;

  • be professionally competent; and

  • in the case of an external transport manager, not be prohibited from acting as a transport manager, and not be acting in that capacity for more than 4 operators, and/or be responsible for more than 50 vehicles (the ‘4 & 50’ rule)


The call-up letter sets out the definition of a Transport Manager as “an individual who is designated by the holder of a licence by means of a contract who effectively and continuously manages the Transport activities of that business”.

It can be extremely intimidating to find yourself on the other side of the bench after attending previous inquiries to assist operators who may have got into difficulty - in some cases after decades of trouble-free service to the industry. We can attend the hearing with you and put across your case in order to achieve the best possible outcome and strive to protect your good repute.  

Traffic Commissioner decisions

At the hearing, the Traffic Commissioner will decide whether you fulfil the requirements in respect of your good repute and professional competence.

If they decide that you are either no longer of good repute or professionally competent, they must disqualify you (either indefinitely or for a finite period) from acting as a transport manager. This disqualification, for the moment at least, applies throughout the European Union.
In addition to making a disqualification order, a Traffic Commissioner can specify measures which you must comply with before the order can be cancelled or varied. They can also stipulate rehabilitation measures. Those measures can include the passing of a stipulated period of time or the requirement for you to regain professional competence by way of the examination.

If you are worried about a Public Inquiry, then please get in touch for a quotation and see if we can assist you on the day. Alternatively, you may previously have been disqualified by the Traffic Commissioner and would like to take advice on how to take up a new position and have your repute restored. This is something we can advise on.