What is a Public Inquiry?

The Traffic Commissioner can convene a special legal hearing know as a Public Inquiry or PI as it is known in the transport industry, which is held in a court room like setting. The Traffic Commissioner or a Deputy Traffic Commissioner at public inquiry are considered by law to be a judicial body having the powers and procedures resembling those of a court of law. There are obligated to objectively determine facts and draw conclusions from them, so as to provide the basis of any disciplinary action taken against an operator licence holder, or parties connected with an operator licence to protect the public interest.

At the end of this formal judicial like process, (Public Inquiry) The Traffic Commissioner makes a decision, based on common law & the legal powers given to a Traffic Commissioner under a number of acts depending on what type of Operator Licence is held by the licence holder attending public inquiry these acts are: Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act1995 (the Act), the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Regulations 1995, the Road Transport Operator Regulations 2011. Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981, The Transport Act 1985, The Public Service Vehicles (Operators’ Licences) Regulations 1995 & The Road Transport Operator Regulations 2011.

At Public Inquiry what are the Traffic Commissioner Powers?

The Powers of the Traffic Commissioner are far ranging & are there to remedy a situation(s) which may affect the public interest in relation to road transport. This may include the imposing legal penalties, which in turn may affect the legal rights, duties or privileges of specific parties. Please find below common examples of how a Traffic Commissioners use their legal powers when in connection with transport regulations.

  • Where a new licence or variation to a current licence is being considered, the Traffic Commissioner decides whether to grant or refuse the application or whether conditions should be attached.
  • In disciplinary cases, the Traffic Commissioner can decide to place extra conditions (Undertakings) on an Operator licence, a curtailment (reduce the number of vehicles an operator is authorised to use) suspend the operator’s licence for a length of time or even revoke an operator’s licence.
  • The Traffic Commissioner can if it is found that those parties connected with the operator licence held, that their fitness or “good repute” has been lost. This can mean the disqualifying of the licence holders and possibility of the transport manager(s) also, if is not of a standard required for an operator licence holder. Which means the inability of the parties mention to hold an operator’s licence, or being involved in the operation of commercial vehicles in the future