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Applying for an Operator’s Licence

Applying for a new operator’s licence can be a frustrating process. Applicants often find they have to deal with many requests for further information from the Central Licensing Office. A badly handled application can even result in a Public Inquiry hearing with the Traffic Commissioner.

At Rotheras, our transport solicitors are experts in all operator licensing matters. We can manage the application process and respond to any requests for information on your behalf.

We understand that some applications are time sensitive. Our team can help you to apply for an urgent interim licence so you can start operating as soon as possible.

Common Application Problems

There are many reasons an application for a new licence can run into difficulties. These include:

Financial standing problems

You will have to show that you have enough money available to keep your vehicles in good repair. We can advise on the forms of financial evidence that will be accepted.

Failing to declare other licences or previous convictions

The Central Licensing Office will expect you to declare all operator licences you or anyone named in the application has been involved in, along with any relevant previous convictions. If you have failed to declare, they will want to know why.

“Fronting” concerns

The Traffic Commissioner may want assurances that any new application is not a “front” for a disqualified director. Concerns of this kind can often arise from a simple misunderstanding but, unless handled carefully, can lead to a Public Inquiry.

“Main occupation” concerns

If you are applying for a restricted PSV licence, you will have to show that you meet the “main occupation” requirement. We can advise you on this complex area of law and can help you to show that you meet this requirement.

Operating centre “environmental” objections

If you want to apply to use a site to operate goods vehicles you will need to advertise this in a local newspaper. We can help you to respond to any complaints from either the local authority or local residents.

What Type of Operator’s Licence do I need?

If can sometimes be difficult to know what type of operator’s licence you need, or whether you in fact need one at all.

Our transport solicitors can advise on whether you fall within an exemption from operator licensing, and if not, what type of licence you should apply for.

There are three types of Operator’s Licence:

  • Restricted Operator’s Licence
  • Standard Operator’s Licence
  • Standing International Operator’s Licence

The application requirements vary depending on whether you are applying for a goods vehicle or PSV licence, and the type of goods or passengers you are carrying.

Public Inquiry Hearings

If the Traffic Commissioner has concerns with your application, you may be called to a Public Inquiry hearing. A Public Inquiry is a type of public regulatory court hearing at which you will be questioned and your application scrutinized. Our advocates are extremely experienced in representing applicants at Public Inquiry hearings.

Public Inquiries – further information

For more information on applying for an Operator’s Licence contact our Road Transport Law Team on 0115 910 6210 or email

Contact our Transport Team

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Anton Balkitis

“Our experienced and specialist team represent clients nationally on a day-to-day basis”

Anton Balkitis
Head of Transport Law

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Posted 27/01/2020

Anton Balkitis frequently represents the operators of both goods and passenger vehicles in court proceedings. Clients remark: "He has a commercial understanding of real-life issues and will always provide a balanced view

Chambers UK, 2019

Posted 27/01/2020

Impressive group with expertise in both matrimonial finance cases and children matters. A strong childcare team handles cases involving physical and emotional abuse, as well as fatalities. Well versed in matters with international aspects, Hague Convention cases, as well as adoption and guardianship issues.

Chambers UK, 2018

Posted 02/06/2020

Chris Powell at Rotheras was recommended to us by a trusted associate within the Transport Industry; without doubt we wouldn’t have had the excellent outcome we did without his and his team’s involvement. The level of professionalism, expert advice and assistance was faultless; we felt reassured and well informed throughout the whole process. It was a pleasure to do business with him and would highly recommend his services!

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The team at Rotheras, and Mr Powell in particular, have provided us with an outstanding service. We are extremely grateful for the help and support they gave us in dealing with issues relating to our transport operations and our goods vehicle operators licence. Mr Powell was professional, knowledgable, efficient and effective. He quickly understood our business and the problem we had. He responded with sensible advice and acted quickly on our behalf to resolve the matter. I cannot thank him enough for his help and I would recommend Mr Powell, and the Rotheras team, without hesitation. I am extremely grateful for the help they gave us.

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Posted 30/09/2020

We are in the middle of launching our own packaging agency and contacted Rotheras for some professional legal advice with regards to contracts. After an initial call with Billy, he made it clear what we needed and asked plenty of questions to understand what it was we needed. He was very responsive to our questions, whether it be over the phone or via emails and made the process really simple. We had little experience in this area so it was fantastic to work with Billy, who explained everything concisely. We were also really pleased with the quick turnaround and great value offered. Would thoroughly recommend working with Rotheras.

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Anton has substantial experience acting for commercial goods hauliers and other transport operators. He advises on a range of contentious issues including operator licence, maintenance and tachograph matters, with a wealth of experience acting in public inquiries before Traffic Commissioners."Anton is a highly informed and personable lawyer.

Chambers UK, 2020

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Chris Powell focuses his practice on road transport issues, regularly representing haulage, transport and logistics companies. He has considerable experience in regulatory matters involving operator licences and compliance failings, as well as more serious criminal investigations relating to fraud.

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Contact our Transport Team
Transport Team
Anton Balkitis

Anton Balkitis

Anton Balkitis leads the Transport Law team and is a nationally recognised Transport and Motoring Law specialist at Nottingham-based law firm Rotheras Solicitors.

Natalie Abbott

Natalie Abbott

Natalie is an Employment Law specialist with over 10 years’ experience representing both businesses and individuals across a range of employment services including settlement agreements, discrimination, dismissals and redundancy.

Olivia Maginn

Olivia Maginn

Olivia Maginn is a transport and motoring law specialist at Nottingham based law firm Rotheras Solicitors.

Transport Solicitor

Chris Powell

Chris Powell is a senior associate solicitor at Rotheras, specialising in road transport law and motorist defence. He advises and represents haulage and PSV operator licence holders, Transport Managers and drivers on all road transport regulatory matters.

Lindsey Richmond

Lindsey Thorpe

Lindsey is a Chartered Legal Executive and Paralegal based in our transport and motorist offence department.

Billy Shaw

Billy Shaw

Billy advises businesses on a range of commercial and corporate issues and is happy to assist you with buying or selling businesses, corporate mergers and shareholder agreements

Lauryn Wright

Lauryn Wright

Lauryn Wright is a paralegal in Rotheras’ Transport and Motoring department and is based at our Head Office in the Lace Market.

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