Contested applications and hearings procedure – Licensing Act 2003
Purpose of the procedure
To enable those with a right to appear to put forward their point of view and to test the case of their opponents.
To help the committee to gather evidence and understand the relevant issues.
- We can accept hearsay evidence but may attach less weight to this evidence as we cannot test it.
- We can accept petitions if the representation is relevant. However, we can only attach limited weight to petitions as we cannot test the individual views.
- Where a large number of interested parties are involved, we will encourage the appointment of a spokesperson(s) to avoid duplication of evidence
- We should not allow objectors to raise wholly new objections at the hearing.
- We should ensure fair treatment of witnesses and protect them from interruptions and aggressive advocacy. We should discourage leading questions and encourage the witness to answer the actual question to prevent them from straying from the point.
- If we invite submissions on a point by one party, we must allow all parties to make submissions on that point. If we have questions of our own, we should offer the participants a chance to ask further questions arising from our questions.
- We may cut through issues by asking if a point is really contested or show that we have heard and understood the point. We may ask a witness if they wish to add to anything an earlier witness has said.
- We may ask parties to collaborate and produce draft conditions but reassure the parties that this exercise is to save time and not because we have formed a view on the issue
- We will not express its view as to the merits of the application or objections before giving a decision. This also applied to any comments to the press or residents in the weeks or days leading up the hearing. We must behave and be seen to be behaving impartially.
- We will draft through reasons for our decision. We should address all relevant representation in our decision. We will inform you of the extent of any guidance and policy which we consider. Refusals in whole or in part and/or the attachment of conditions should be stated in terms of the appropriateness to do so to promote one or more of the licensing objectives and why this is so.
- We do not select committee members:
- from the same wards as any applications under consideration
- who took part in the planning process as part of the Development Control Committee for any premises up for consideration