Giving evidence at a Hearing

 

 

 

 

Useful link:

Ministry for the Environment (2009). An Everyday Guide to the Resource Management Act Series 3.3: Appearing at a Council Resource Consent Hearing
Link here >> 

Giving evidence at a hearing can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’ve never been to one before. The most important thing to remember is to be yourself and present your evidence in a clear and simple way. It is also important to remember that hearings are neutral, and that the hearing committee (this is made up of councillors and/or hearing commissioners) is there to listen to what you have to say. They will be respectful of you and the evidence you present.

What is evidence? Evidence is anything you use – photos, images, stories – to get your point across and back up your statement.

When you give evidence at a hearing you – or a person you nominate to speak on your behalf, e.g. a lawyer – usually reads out or presents a written statement that gives greater detail of the points you made in your submission. You don’t have to read out your evidence, if there is a way you are more comfortable presenting your evidence, which is relevant and allows you to make your key points in a clear and concise way, then this may also be an option. Once you have presented your evidence the hearing committee may ask some questions about the information you have provided in your presentation.

Preparation is key! Make sure you have prepared all your evidence before the day of the hearing, and decide if you need the services of an expert witness to explain any technical parts of your case. If it helps, practise your presentation in front of whanau, friends, a mirror or even a pet. Make sure you stick to the point, and consider attending a council hearing before your big day – this will help get a feel for things. Finally think about what questions the hearing committee might ask you and how you might respond to them.

Breathe, speak slowly and clearly

Panui

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December 12, 2012

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