On the afternoon of Wednesday 23rd May RTPI London organised a Mock Inquiry, ran by Kings Chambers, hosted by UCL. Kings Chambers demonstrated how a public inquiry would unfold by using a real example of a planning appeal from a proposed development of 34 new houses outside of a settlement boundary. A senior barrister acted as the Inspector, whilst 5 volunteer witnesses gave evidence and were cross-examined by counsel. The witnesses included Council officers who had recommended the application for refusal. The barrister cross-examined the ‘Council officers’ asking probing questions about the reasons for refusal, whilst making an effort to invalidate the ‘Council’s’ argument. The volunteers excellent at answering some difficult questions. Overall, the afternoon provided a valuable insight into how a public inquiry works and what it’s like to give evidence.
One volunteer said:
“I found the mock inquiry an extremely helpful exercise, it felt very real and it was quite daunting being cross-examined but at the same time I learnt some very useful and valuable lessons- mainly sometimes better to concede defeat to retain credibility! It was interesting to see how the barristers training worked and the need therefore to be very well versed with all aspects of your case. The case itself was interesting. Having undertaken the exercise I feel more confident going into an inquiry although more training is definitely required and I now know the value of being armed with a whole host of information from the onset. Well done to RTPI London and Kings Chambers for hosting this!”