This is the section of our website designed to help the HGV drivers, the Transport Managers and the PSV Drivers, and generally anyone who finds themselves before a Public Enquiry, where they could lose their livelihood..
The world of operating vehicles (those that are heavier than a normal domestic car) has to be heavily regulated. This is because a failure in the operation of Heavy Goods Vehicles or Public Service Vehicles could have catastrophic consequences on the lives of pedestrians, passengers and, of course, the driver.
To preserve public safety, the Traffic Commissioner office has been established to enforce the licensing and regulating of such operators and drivers of Heavy Goods Vehicles and Public Service Vehicles.
Not only can the Traffic Commissioner take action against the Operators of heavy goods vehicles but, crucially, they can also take action against their drivers
What are the powers of the traffic commissioner?
The powers of the traffic commissioner are considerable, they can:
Grant or refuse an operator’s licence
Attach conditions to an operator’s licence
Restrict an operator’s licence reducing the number of vehicles permitted to be used
Impose financial penalties
Suspend or even take away an existing licence
Disqualify an individual or a company from having a licence
Disqualify transport managers
What is a Public enquiry?
If you have been summonsed to appear before the Traffic Commissioner, do not take this lightly. Failing to prepare means preparing to fail.
Traffic Commissioners can call a formal Public enquiry for them to obtain further evidence before they make a decision to grant or refuse an operators licence for HGV or PSV operators, or take action against a vehicle operator, a bus service operator or a driver of a bus, minibus or lorry.
Public Enquiries are held in a room that has the look and formality of a court room about it. The proceedings have an inquisitorial feel about them, in that you have to be seen to cooperate fully with the Traffic Commissioner and the process. Be seen to be obstructive or non cooperative, and this could cause you significant problems.
Will evidence be heard? Absolutely, the Traffic Commissioner will almost certainly want to hear you give an account as to what has happened and that evidence will be sworn on oath. Might you be cross examined? Although regularly, there will not actually be a prosecutor in the public enquiry to ask you any questions, the Traffic Commissioner will do that job as well as deciding the outcome. It will be the Traffic Commissioner who may well test your answers and cross examine your account.
Can you appreciate just how serious a business a public enquiry is now?
People often ask us whether there will be members of the public at the enquiry. Usually, it is just the Traffic Commissioner and the operator/driver along with any legal representative who will be present. However, the public are perfectly entitled to attend if they wish and often, interested parties may well attend to hear the evidence and will wait for the outcome. For instance, there is nothing stopping the press or the local police force from attending and listening to the evidence.
The Traffic Commissioner’s powers are considerable, and although there is an appeal process via the Magistrates Court, be under no illusion, following a public enquiry, if the decision goes against you, you could easily find your livelihood being taken away from you.
Should you be concerned?
Lets imagine you are a transport manager and one of your fleet of vehicles has been stopped by the Drivers and Vehicles Standards Agency ( DVSA). That vehicle has a bald tyre and the MOT has expired. But you weren’t the driver. ANTICIPATE, THAT YOU WILL BE ASKED TO EXPLAIN YOURSELF BEFORE A TRAFFIC COMMISSIONER
Or perhaps you are a HGV driver and you have accumulated 12 penalty points on your driving licence. You might have successfully argued “ Exceptional Hardship” in the Magistrates Court but is that the end of it? Again, the Traffic Commissioner may want to hear from you to determine whether you are a fit and proper person to hold such a licence, particularly if you are a Transport Manager.
Remember, where a court has disqualified you from driving, the Traffic Commissioner may decide to extend that disqualification when it comes to your HGV/PSV/OPERATRORS’ LICENCE.
What should you do?
Call James Murray Solicitors. A one hour consultation costs just £200 (plus Vat). We will look through your paperwork and advise you on the best course of action
The worst thing that you can do is to walk into a Public Enquiry without having prepared thoroughly.
Over the years we have built up an experienced team that are regularly called upon to represent clients at Public Enquiries. We have embraced the inquisitorial approach of the Public Enquiry and merged it with our excellent Court Advocacy skills , that have been honed in the Magistrates and Crown Courts over many years.
Our strength is the preparation that we put into your case, taking our time to make sure that no stone is left unturned, that a full statement of your account, accompanied with any supporting evidence, is sent to the Traffic Commissioner in good time before the hearing.
Transparency is everything in these proceedings.
Before you go anywhere near that Public Enquiry, you will have forged a professional relationship with your advocate during the hours of preparation that we will put into your case.
Walking into that Public Enquiry alongside your James Murray Advocate will give you a sense of calmness and knowledge that we will do everything we can to get you the very best result from that Public Enquiry
So, DON’T DITHER, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. CONTACT OUR COMMERCIAL VEHICLES MOTORING TEAM AND AN IMMEDIATE APPOINTMENT CAN BE PROVIDED FOR YOU.
How do I fund my case?
Legal aid is not available for such cases, which means that you will either have to fund the case yourself or perhaps your employer or business may be able to fund it.
We try and help in whatever way we can and so we have been able to offer clients in the past a fixed fee agreement, giving the client peace of mind that there will be no hidden charges.
Come and speak to us about your case and we can determine whether we can offer you such an agreement
We are also able to offer payment plans to clients, to allow them to space their payments over a period of time. Again, feel free to mention this to us when you come and speak to us.
For anyone thinking that they might not want to pay for representation, just remember how much your HGV/PSV licence means to you. It is equally as important to us.