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Cambridge Public Inquiries

Called to Cambridge for a goods vehicle or passenger vehicle public inquiry ?

If you’ve received a formal call up to a Cambridge public inquiry you will already know that you face a serious situation. Your business and reputation is at stake and you will normally be in need of very urgent expert legal assistance.

You can find more detailed information throughout our website about the procedure at public inquiries. But in a very brief summary, public inquires are formal legal hearings where the Traffic Commissioner hears evidence and listens to the case of an operator licence holder before deciding whether to take disciplinary action or refuse or grant an application.

The danger at any public inquiry is that a goods vehicle or passenger vehicle operator find themselves put out of business at the stroke of a pen.

Cambridge and The East of England Traffic Area

The Traffic Commissioner’s office at Cambridge is responsible for the East of England Traffic Area. The East of England Traffic Area covers a large part of the country from the Nottinghamshire border in the North to within parts of the M25 in the South and including the whole of East Anglia. It includes the counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire.

Some of the main cities and towns includes are Cambridge itself, Luton, Leicester, Milton Keynes, Peterborough, Rutland, Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock, Basildon, Greys, Chelmsford, Braintree, Colchester, Kings Lynn, Ipwsich, Norwich, Harlow, Bedford, Southend on Sea, Lowestoft, Grantham, Boston, Sleaford, Louth and Lincoln.

There are more goods vehicle operator licences held by businesses in Cambridge than in any other Traffic Area in Great Britain. There are a total of 13,100 goods vehicle operator licences and 1,200 passenger vehicle licences overseen by the Traffic Commissioner at Cambridge.

Public Inquiries in Cambridge

There are two court rooms for hearing public inquiries in Cambridge and this is where the vast majority of them take place. Occasionally they may take place at other venues, but this is rare. The hearings will be heard by the Traffic Commissioner himself, currently Richard Turfitt is the Cambridge Traffic Commissioner, or one of his deputies.

Public Inquiries at Cambridge follow a procedure which is followed at public inquiries throughout the UK. You can find more information about the procedure in our website and you can of course contact us for more information.

In the year 2015/2016 there were a total of 252 goods vehicle and passenger vehicle public inquiries at Cambridge and in the East of England Traffic Area. Most of these involved only one operator, but some will have involved more than one operator called to attend the same public inquiry.

Results of Goods Vehicle (HGV) Public Inquiries at Cambridge

According to the latest figures available, for the year 2015 – 2016, there were 52 goods vehicle operators (30% of the total HGV public inquiries) who had their operator licenses revoked at Cambridge public inquiries. 8 operators had their licences suspended and 59 had their vehicle numbers reduced or other conditions imposed.

This means that 69% of those called to Cambridge public inquiries had serious disciplinary action taken. Only 9 operators (5% of the total) had no action taken against them at their public inquiry.

The situation with applications for new or variations to existing licences is that most (about 75%) are granted eventually. Usually this is once the applicants have taken legal advice and put in place measures which satisfy the Traffic Commissioner.

Results of passenger vehicle (PSV) Public Inquiries at Cambridge

The latest figures available show that there were only 14 passenger vehicle public inquiries at Cambridge in 2015 – 2016. Exactly half of these operators had their licences revoked, 1 had their licence suspended and 1 had its vehicles reduced.

Only 1 out of the 14 had no disciplinary action taken at all.

With regard to new applications for variations or new licences, there were 11 public inquiries held and 5 applications were refused, only 3 were granted without conditions.

What to do if you've been called to a public inquiry in Cambridge

The statistics above demonstrate how real and serious the potential outcomes of public inquiries are. Having the right professional legal support really can make a huge difference to the outcome of your public inquiry.

Your chance of a successful outcome at your public inquiry increases dramatically if you have experienced and skilled legal representation. So choosing a good transport solicitor is of vital importance. A good transport law specialist will be able to get stuck into your case and do all sorts of things to get you ready to face the Traffic Commissioner and come away with a good outcome.

We strongly recommend that you speak to us urgently if you've had a call to public inquiry. Nearly all of our clients (well over 90%) have a successful outcome at their public inquiries.

We regularly handle public inquiries at Cambridge and know exactly how to prepare and present a successful case. We've been doing it for years and have helped hundreds of operators through what is always a very difficult and uncertain time.


Please get in touch with us without charge or obligation.

Contact us today and we'll give you an idea about how we might be able to help you. We will be very glad to talk through your situation and review your papers free of charge to help you to make an informed decision about what to do.

You can call us any time on 0800 1777 522 or alternatively you can email us or make a Free Online Enquiry

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We advise and represent transport businesses throughout the whole of the UK in all parts of England, Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland


Latest Blogs

We were approached by an operator who had received public inquiry paper several weeks earlier. The Operator instructed us to represent him at his inquiry listed for a hearing before the Traffic Commis...
We recently represented two companies who were both called to the same public inquiry. Although separate entities, the companies were closely connected because of having the same set of directors. One...
We were approached by a small business owner to represent them at the a public inquiry which had been called to consider their application for a new passenger vehicle operator’s licence.The person app...


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Latest Transport Law

Transport Law
We were approached by an operator who had received public inquiry paper several weeks earlier. The Operator instructed us to represent him at his inquiry listed for a hearing before the Traffic Commissioner’s (TC) only two weeks in advance.

There were several serious issues that the TC indicated he wanted to examine at the hearing and was threatening regulatory action against the Operator Company. The Operator had approached another firm of solicitors, who informed him that the likely outcome of the hearing would be loss of repute and licence revocation.

We provided the Operator with advice about immediate steps to be taken in preparation for the hearing. We requested the operator send us a number of documents critical to the success of his inquiry. A consideration of those document showed significant—but not insurmountable—shortfalls in maintenance standards and legal requirements.

The operator had recently appointed a new Transport Manager (TM) with an excellent reputation in his field. The TM worked along with us in analysing the Company’s compliance systems to create better compliance systems and improve the of the Company’s mindset about such.

We prepared extensive written representations and sent these to the TC in advance of the hearing along with supporting documentation.

We recommended that both the Operator (Director) and his Transport Manager attend the hearing. As expected the TC questioned the Operator and TM extensively about the various issued raised. We guided and advised the Operator and TM throughout the hearing. Following our final submissions, the TC decided not to revoke the licence or disqualify the Operator Company. The Operator was issued with a warning and a very short suspension of one vehicle until it had a further maintenance inspection and remedial work done. The Operator was allowed to keep the rest of his fleet working with minimal disruption to the business. The Operator was thrilled with our services and has since instructed us at least one other transport matter.
Transport Law
We recently represented two companies who were both called to the same public inquiry. Although separate entities, the companies were closely connected because of having the same set of directors. One of the companies (the Operator) had years previously been issued with a restricted goods vehicle operator’s licence. The other company had recently applied for the same kind of licence (the Applicant).

Over the previous year, the directors had decided to progressively move most of the Operator’s business interests to its sister company the Applicant. Without understanding the potential consequences, and before being granted its operator’s licence, the Applicant began using the Operator’s heavy goods vehicle. The Operator company had not informed the Traffic Commissioner (TC) of its change in business arrangements and of the apparent change of entity (though the companies were actually wholly owned subsidiaries of another company – see below).

The Public Inquiry was convened because of changes at this business group and a fundamental misunderstanding of the operator’s licence regime, and that there had been what appeared to be a change of entity involving the companies.

The TC needed to be satisfied as to whether the companies were not unfit to hold an operator’s licence due to relevant activities and convictions, and about the events relating to a change in the circumstances of the licence holder. The Operator risked revocation of its licence. The Applicant was at risk of not having its licence granted.

In advance of the inquiry, and to start building their case, we obtained as much information as we could about the businesses and provided each company comprehensive legal advice. We examined the companies’ compliance systems and made recommendations about immediate and longer-term changes that needed to be implemented. On our recommendations, the companies invested time and resources into their maintenance and other systems

As a result of our preliminary work and advice, the companies were fully prepared for the public inquiry hearing. In particular, to answer questions and provide evidence about the apparent change of entity.

At the hearing we demonstrated that the companies were running professional and competent businesses. With specific reference to the issue of the apparent change of entity, the TC accepted that Section 3(4) of the Goods vehicle (licencing of operators) Act 1995 was relevant and that this was not a typical “change of entity” case – because of the companies being subsidiaries. We were able to persuade the TC that the issues that lead to the inquiry arose out of ignorance rather than an attempt to mislead or gain financial advantage

The TC granted the new licence to the Applicant with the Operator company voluntarily surrendering its licence. The directors were delighted with the outcome of the public inquiry hearing and that they managed to avoid the damaging consequences they feared.
Transport Law

We were approached by a small business owner to represent them at the a public inquiry which had been called to consider their application for a new passenger vehicle operator’s licence.

The person applying for the licence had a long background of work in the transport industry as a driver but had never before operated his own transport business. One of the key issues was that the nominated transport manager was also nominated some other licences and the Traffic Commissioner was concerned whether this meant that the transport manager would be able to properly carry out their duties on so many licences at once.