A recent case has shown the importance of being properly prepared for a public inquiry before the Traffic Commissioner. The operator had attended a public inquiry to consider an application for a new licence without the assistance of a solicitor. After a mere twenty minutes the application had been thrown out and the applicants’ character severely criticised.
The case was appealed with the Upper Tribunal noting that the appellants were not legally represented and appeared not to be appropriately prepared for the hearing. Although there were several factors against the application being granted, the court noted that the applicants did not have the opportunity to put their case as a whole, which would have allowed the Traffic Commissioner to have considered some positive features.
If you receive a letter calling you to a public inquiry then seek qualified legal advice as soon as possible. There is only a limited amount of time before the public inquiry and each day needs to be used to your best advantage. The Traffic Commissioners have seen far too many eleventh hour attempts to save an operator’s licence. Preparation is the key. With many years experience of helping operators at public inquiries I can anticipate what questions the Traffic Commissioner will ask and what information you need to put forward. Sometimes, such as in the above case, legal issues can come out at the public inquiry and which need to be addressed there and then. You only get one chance at a public inquiry and there are very limited grounds of appeal. Make sure that you make the most of that chance.
If you have been called to a public inquiry and would like to discuss the issues with me, then please contact me on 01756 790631