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Conduct of inquiries

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Advice on whether advocates should sit or stand at inquiries.

This is relevant when:

  • addressing the Inspector to make opening or closing submissions,
  • making applications for rulings or costs,
  • intervening during another party's case,
  • taking their own witness through unread oral evidence,
  • re-examining their own witness,
  • cross-examining another party's witness.

It is a matter for the Inspector to decide and the issue will be raised during his/her opening announcement. In inquiries where there is a great deal of public interest it may be hard for interested people to see what is going on, or to identify who is speaking, and it may help them follow the proceedings if advocates stand when making their opening and closing addresses and also when they are cross-examined and re-examined. The Inspector will generally ask witnesses and third parties to sit at the witness table.

See the 'Venue and facilities note for hearings and public inquiries' for more information. Local planning authorities should check that inquiry and hearing venues provide suitable disabled access.