Public Inquiry Preparation

Days 1 & 2, 9 to 1, Day 3 9 to 4.30 (approximately)

Virtual by Microsoft Teams

Opposed modification orders or public path orders may end up at a Public Local Inquiry, and both good preparation for and performance at the Inquiry are critical to the success of the case.

The course covers preparing for the Inquiry from its 'start date', team working, and the importance of preparation and presentation, including cross-examination practice.

Participants must be familiar with drafting a Statement of Case and a Proof of Evidence, therefore prior attendance at the Opposed Orders course is strongly recommended.

The course includes a valuable and popular mock Inquiry in front of an Inspector, which is an ideal opportunity to become familiar with the Inquiry environment, to understand lines of questioning, to practise responding to questions or building questions as an advocate.

Although the whole event is virtual, venue Inquiries and the occasional need for hybrid Inquiries in exceptional circumstances are covered.

'Mock' Inquiry

Past participants have said that they could not have performed as well at an Inquiry without the role play part of this course. It is found invaluable to practise in a 'for real' environment but without the pressure of a real case outcome. All have found it very beneficial in improving skills whatever their level of experience.

The role of an advocate is valuable in building a case and spotting weaknesses. Acting for the opposition is just as useful as being the council's witness because preparation for and responding to cross-examination are the same, and making the case in opposition often shows holes in any council's assumptions (and the council does not always act in support of an order!).

The course uses a modification order for the mock Inquiry but the principles are the same for public path orders so the course is equally applicable for officers processing public path orders only.

The case for the Inquiry will be circulated as soon as the course has reached minimum number of bookings. Roles will be allocated and explained by 18 March. Please ensure you will have time to understand the case, just as you would a real case you were taking forward, and to prepare your proof of evidence between 18 March and 5 April.

The course is limited to twelve participants, all of whom will take part in the Inquiry at some level. Major and minor roles will be allocated at the discretion of the organiser.

Note Preparation Time Required below.

Main topics

  • Preparing a case for Inquiry
  • Dividing and managing the workload
  • The roles of advocate and expert witness
  • Using witnesses of fact
  • Evidence in chief and cross-examination
  • Inquiry rules, pre-inquiry meetings, costs applications

Learning outcomes

  • Understanding of the process of an opposed order at Inquiry and its timeline
  • Recognition of resources and support needed
  • Familiarity with the Inquiry environment
  • Experience of cross-examination and tips on performance

Preparation time required

The course will be two half days followed by a full day for the mock Inquiry. Participants will require at least a day for preparation between 18 March and 5 April, and for tasks on day 1 and 2, so participants should consider the course as 4 full days. Some previous participants have found they needed more time in advance of the course.


Intermediate. The course is designed for council officers with knowledge of an opposed order, approaching their first Inquiry or wishing to increase their skills at Inquiry and may include officers with responsibility for modification or public path orders, solicitors and legal executives. Participants must be familiar with production of a Proof of Evidence, either through experience or attendance on the Opposed Orders course.

Priority will be given to bookings from members attending the Opposed Orders course 2024. Other bookings will not be confirmed until 6 February 2024 and are dependent on places being available.


Rosalinde Emrys-Roberts, consultant
Richard Cuthbert, Definitive Map and Enforcement Team Leader, Hertfordshire County Council


Members £373, non-members £493 (+VAT)

Note that priority will be given to bookings from members attending the Opposed Orders course 2024. Other bookings will not be confirmed until 6 February 2024 and are dependent on places being available.


Microsoft Teams is the software used for training which is available to anyone. Using the app is strongly recommended for full functionality as the web browser version may be missing some facilities, although full participation should be possible, use of some apps within Teams may be limited by participating organisation's protocols.


See Event recording.

Terms and Conditions

See Event booking terms.


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