OXFORD CITY COUNCIL

 

General Purposes Licensing Casework Sub-Committee

 

HEARING PROCEDURE for Hackney Carriages and Private Hire licensing, Street Trading consents and Sex Establishment licenses

                                                                                                   

The Meeting

 

The General Purposes Licensing Casework Sub-Committee (Sub-Committee) consists of three members of the General Purposes Licensing Committee. With the consent of the applicant, or person who is subject of the hearing, the Sub-Committee can consist of two councillors.  The Sub-Committee is responsible for reaching a decision upon the application having heard representations and considering all relevant material presented.

 

All members must be present throughout the hearing. If for any reason a member needs to withdraw during the proceedings the hearing should be temporarily adjourned until the member returns, or the member should not participate any further in the hearing. Any departure should therefore be avoided wherever possible. A member who arrives after the hearing has commenced is not allowed to participate inthat hearing.

 

 

Closed and Open Hearings

 

Street Trading hearings shall normally take place in public.  However, the Sub-Committee may exclude the press and the public from all or part of a hearing where exempt information (section 100A(4) Local Government Act 1972) is concerned and the Sub Committee considers that the public interest in doing so outweighs the public interest in the hearing, or that part of the hearing, taking place in public.

 

Taxi licensing hearings will usually be considered in private as cases coming before the Sub-Committee involve private and personal information relating to the case subject. Most taxi hearings will therefore be held in private and will be treated as confidential and not for publication.

 

Declaring Interests

 

To avoid any suggestion of bias, members should not take part in any hearing if they have any interest, financial or otherwise, in the outcome, or if they have any connection with or have been approached by a person who is the subject of an item on the Sub-Committee’s agenda. Members must take care not to be influenced by their role on any other council committee. Licensing decisions must be taken strictly on the criteria allowed by the relevant legislation.

 

The Paperwork

 

Officers of the Licensing Authority (the City Council) will prepare the paperwork for the application that is to be heard by the Sub-Committee.  The paperwork will include:-

 

 

 

for Street Trading hearing only:

 

 

 

Attendees at the Hearing

 

Any party may be assisted or represented by any person whether or not that person is legally qualified.

 

For Street Trading hearings only:

Observations of Police and/or Technical advisors

 

Where appropriate the police or technical advisers to the Sub Committee may make their observations.

 

The Sub-Committee may ask questions of the Police and/or technical advisors.

 

Other parties may ask factual questions of the Police and/or technical advisors. Cross-examination will only be permitted with the consent of the Chair.

 

Objector’s case

 

Where written representations of objection have been received the Sub-Committee will have regard to those representations. Any objectors can attend the hearing to speak in support of their written objection. However, the Sub Committee will not require repetition of points already made in written representations. Only objectors who have sent written representation during the consultation period can speak.

 

Where a number of objectors have made representations which are similar in nature the Sub-Committee will expect a spokesperson to be appointed to represent the group.

 

The Sub-Committee may ask questions of any objector.

 

Other parties may ask factual questions of any objector. Cross-examination will only be permitted with the consent of the Chair.

 

 

Non-Attendance of the Case Subject/Applicant

 

If a case subject/ applicant has had reasonable notice of the hearing fails to attend either in person or through their representative, the Sub- Committee canproceed with the hearing in their absence.

 

The Sub-Committee may grant an adjournment if a reasonable explanation has been given for failure to attend or an adjournment has been specifically requested, and there is no reason to think that the person would fail to attend on another occasion. If a case subject has expressed an intention not to attend, or has repeatedly failed to attend, it would be proper for the Sub-Committee to hear the case in their absence.

 

The Sub-Committee should be prepared to adjourn proceedings if questions arise which cannot be dealt with satisfactorily in the case subject’s absence. In deciding whether to hear the case inthe absence of thecase subject, the Sub-Committee should take into account whether they have sent a representative to act on their behalf and whether delay in hearingthe case is likely to result in hardship (for example, where the case subject has stated that his orher need is urgent).

 

 

Conduct of Proceedings

 

The role of the Chair is to control the proceedings.  All questions must be put through the Chair.

 

Members of the Sub-Committee will have read and familiarised themselves with the papers and issues.  The Sub-Committee does not therefore require points to be made or repeated at length.

 

The hearing shall take the form of a discussion managed through the Chair.  Formal cross- examination shall not be permitted unless the Chair considers that cross-examination in a particular circumstance would assist.  In exercising this discretion to permit cross-examination, the Chair must have regard to the rules of natural justice and the right to a fair hearing.

 

In considering an application, the Sub-Committee may take into account documents or other information relied on by a party in support of their application or representation.  Copies of the information should be supplied to the Licensing Authority at least two working days before the hearing or, with the consent of the Chair after that time.

 

If a person attending the hearing is acting in a manner that the Chair considers is disruptive, the Chair will require that person to leave the hearing and may:

 

(a)       refuse to permit that person to return; or

(b)       permit him / her to return only on such conditions as the Sub-Committee may specify.

 

Before the end of the hearing any person who was required to leave the hearing may submit in writing any information which they would have been entitled to give orally had they not been required to leave.

 

 

Order of Proceedings

 

The Chair commences the hearing by introducing themselves and the other Sub-Committee members.  The Chair asks all of the other parties present to introduce themselves and explain in what capacity they are attending.

 

Licensing officers will present the report relating to the application or matter to be heard by the Sub-Committee.  They shall say who the applicant is, what the application is for and explain the paperwork before the Sub-Committee.

 

The person appearing before the Sub-Committee will present their case.

 

For Street Trading hearings only:

If present, Police, technical advisors and objectors will present their case.

 

All parties will be given the opportunity to summarise briefly their key points.  The order shall be:-

·                     Licensing officer

·                     Objectors (for Street Trading hearings)

·                     Police and/or technical advisors (for Street trading hearings)

·                     Applicant

 

At the end of the submissions, the Chair will announce that the hearing is adjourned while the Sub-Committee deliberate in private. The Sub-Committee will be accompanied by the committee clerk and legal advisor during their deliberations.  All other officers, applicants/ case subjects and members of the public will leave the room.

 

If it is necessary to recall any party for clarification of any point, then all parties should be recalled.

 

The Chair will either:

 

         or

 

The person appearing before the Sub-Committee shall be advised orally of their 21 day right of appeal, (starting from the date of the letter) and that the decision and rights of appeal shall be notified to them in writing.