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Typical oral hearing

This page explains what happens at a typical oral hearing.


The inspector will introduce the An Bord Pleanála team and open the oral hearing. The inspector will:

  • outline the purpose of the oral hearing and the proposed agenda.
  • check attendance by participants.
  • provide a brief summary of the proposed development or request the applicants to do so.
  • respond to any questions in relation to procedures.

An Bord Pleanála Inspector opening an oral hearing and assisted by administrative staff.


  • Written submissions already received in relation to the case will be taken as read and should not be repeated at the oral hearing.
  • Oral submissions will be taken in the order indicated on the agenda.
  • Participants should be as clear and concise as possible and should avoid repeating arguments already made by others.
  • Participants with similar submissions should group together and nominate one spokesperson where possible.
  • The inspector has the right to cut off participants if they believe that the information or tone is not appropriate for the oral hearing.
  • The inspector has powers to hear evidence under oath but this is rarely used.


In line with the agenda, the inspector will facilitate cross-questioning of participants. As well as ensuring that the principles of natural justice are observed, cross-questioning can be particularly useful in testing the arguments made by participants and in exploring areas of difference that remain between participants. The inspector may also ask participants questions at any time.


The inspector will facilitate short closing statements by participants who wish to make them. These statements should summarise the main points already made and which the participant still feels are important for An Bord Pleanála to consider. They should not raise any new issues or legal arguments.

Modifications and possible conditions

Revised proposals and possible conditions may be presented at an oral hearing for discussion and comments. If accepted by the inspector this will be without prejudice to the inspector's recommendation or Board decision.

Oral hearings can be stressful events. We ask that participants be polite, respectful and courteous at all times to all those participating. We also expect all participants to accept and respect the inspector's decisions during the oral hearing.
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.