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Attending the oral hearing

This page explains who is normally at an oral hearing and who can attend.

Please note that oral hearings can take place online using Microsoft Teams. To find out how to attend a meeting or oral hearing via Microsoft Teams, please see our guidance page.

Members of the public

Any member of the public can attend an oral hearing. If you have not already made a written submission on the case, you may be able to make an oral submission at the hearing subject to the inspector's approval and payment of the required fee.

Participants in the case

We will inform all participants in a case that an oral hearing is to be held and invite them to attend. By law, we are required to give at least five working days' notice before the start of an oral hearing, however, we aim to give as much notice as possible so that participants have time to prepare. Once set, we can only change the dates for an oral hearing in exceptional circumstances.

While a participant is welcome to make an oral submission at the oral hearing, there is no requirement to attend. Written submissions already made are considered in full in the Inspector's Report and by the Board when making its decision on the case.

While some participants may choose to be professionally represented at an oral hearing there is no requirement for such representation. The An Bord Pleanála inspector or other staff member in attendance will generally assist inexperienced participants in so far as is practicable.

Public representatives

Public representatives may speak on behalf of participants in the case. If they wish to make a submission on their own behalf, and are not already a participant in the case, this will be subject to the inspector's approval and the payment of the required fee.

An Bord Pleanála staff

The inspector for the case and other staff from An Bord Pleanála will be in attendance at the oral hearing. The number of staff present may vary depending on the size of the oral hearing. Our staff can help you at the oral hearing with general queries or the payment of fees.

At the oral hearing, the inspector's role is to:

  • decide how the oral hearing is to be conducted and act as the chairperson for the oral hearing
  • decide the issues to be addressed at the oral hearing
  • determine the order in which participants will be heard
  • ensure fairness to all participants
  • complete the oral hearing in a reasonable timescale.