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Inquiry procedure

A public inquiry may take days to months, depending on how many witnesses present evidence and how significant the proposed development is.

It usually takes the following form

  • The inspector opens the inquiry by describing the appeal
  • He or she will note which members of the public wish to speak
  • The appellant's (planning applicant's) lawyer will open his or her client's case
  • The appellant's first witness will be called, usually to read the summary proof of evidence
  • Additional points may be raised from other witnesses' proofs of evidence
    • This process is called 'examination in chief'
  • Other principal parties can then cross-examine the witness
  • The inspector may then ask questions
  • The appellant's lawyer can re-examine the witness on matters raised in the cross examination

This procedure is followed for each of the appellant's witnesses

More about cross-examination

The local authority then presents its evidence. All other interested parties are invited to put forward their cases. This may be done through a short prepared statement or a full case presented by a lawyer.

The order in which everyone makes their case is flexible. You can, for example, request to speak before or after the local authority depending on whether you think it will help or hinder your arguments.