The hearing is as informal as possible and we will try to put everyone at ease, but these are judicial proceedings and a degree of formality is inevitable.

Hearings typically last about an hour. However, it depends on the complexity of the case and how much evidence each side presents.

You can see what happens at a hearing by following this link. Video: Please note the video shows a three-member panel which is no longer the norm. We also tell you more about this in the guidance booklet you will have received with the Notice of Acknowledgement. This can also be found here.

The panel will normally follow the model procedure set out in the Practice Statement.

The panel will decide who will put their case first, but if you would prefer to give your case first or second, please let us know.

During the hearing:

  • the panel will ask you and the VOA or council to present your cases
  • you will be able to ask the VOA or council questions
  • the VOA or council will be able to ask you questions, and
  • the panel and the clerk can ask you and the VOA or council questions.

Before the panel retires to make its decision, it will ask you if you would like to summarise your case (in other words, go over the main points of your case again).

The panel may decide to inspect the property or its locality, though this is not usual.

The panel will retire to consider its decision once it has all the evidence it needs. The clerk will be asked to join the panel at some point, to assist with technical or legal advice and to help draft the decision.

The decision will not be given on the day; it will be sent to everyone in writing, at the same time and normally within one month of the hearing date.

Please remember that at any time you can contact the office that has sent you notices to ask for general advice.