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Remote regulatory committee hearings

Guidance on remote hearings under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982

Introduction

In light of the current situation surrounding Covid-19 and while social distancing restrictions are in force the regulatory committee cannot meet in their usual format. Therefore, we have had to seek alternative means of facilitating the meeting via video link, telephone or other means of instant multi-party electronic communications i.e. written representations.

This guidance has been prepared for parties invited to participate in remote hearings conducted by the regulatory committee of North Lanarkshire. The guidance on remote meetings procedure will apply to the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.

The guidance sets out the procedure which will be followed by the regulatory committee to ensure it complies with the associated legislation, both prior to and at a hearing before the regulatory committee. The guidance also provides information on the process after a hearing confirming the rights of parties to written statements of reasons for the committee’s decisions and details of how you can appeal a committee decision.

The regulatory committee seeks to ensure each party at a hearing is treated both fairly and equally. Please contact RegulatoryCommittee@northlan.gov.uk if you have a particular access requirement.

Procedure prior to remote hearing

At least 14 days prior to the hearing:

  1. All parties will receive notice by email of the date and time of the hearing; parties are asked to check their junk folder to ensure that the email has not been sent there.
  2. All parties will receive an email with copies of all relevant papers.

At least 7 days prior to the hearing:

  1. You should email a copy of any documents you intend to rely on to RegulatoryCommittee@northlan.gov.uk using your name and date of hearing as the subject heading. Please note that if you attend the hearing and intend to rely on documents not previously circulated to the other parties prior to the hearing they may not be considered by the committee.

Attendance at the Hearing

  1. All parties entitled to be heard will be invited to attend the meeting to address the committee and/or have a representative attend to address the committee on their behalf. If a party does not wish to appear or be represented at the hearing, they can submit written representations. If a party wishes their hearing to proceed this way, they should understand they will not have the ability to ask questions of the committee or be able to answer any questions the committee may have on what they have submitted.
  2. ​​​​​​​Any person may be nominated to act as a party’s representative, but the committee has the right to decide not to hear from a person who claims to represent a party if the committee is not satisfied that the person has written authority from that party.
  3. Persons who have submitted late objections or representations are also invited to attend the hearing but are advised that the committee may decline to consider their objection or representation unless, at the start of the hearing, they first satisfy the committee that there is sufficient reason for the objection or representation having been lodged late.
  4. ​​​​​​​Even if no objections or representations have been lodged the regulatory committee  still require in terms of the legislation to convene a remote hearing in certain circumstances e.g. if a late hours catering licence for premises is sought for times out with council policy then a hearing will need to proceed even if no objections or adverse comments have been received and e.g. if a taxi or private hire licence holder applies to renew a licence but the motor vehicle to which the application relates does not meet the age limits detailed in the council policy then a hearing will be convened.
  5. If a party is unable to attend on the date proposed, they may submit a request by email for postponement to the clerk in advance of the hearing but the request for a postponement will still have to be decided by the committee on the day of the hearing. If the committee do not agree to the postponement of the hearing then the hearing may proceed in your absence. A party can also request a postponement on the day of the hearing. The committee will consider any requests for a postponement and if it considers it in the interests of justice will grant the postponement provided the relevant statutory deadline for holding the hearing can still be met. Requests for a postponement should be emailed to RegulatoryCommittee@northlan.gov.uk.

Procedure to be followed at remote hearing for applications

  1. ​​​​​​​At the start of the hearing, the committee’s legal adviser will identify which parties are present and/or represented. If any party is not present or represented and has not made a request for a postponement, and if the committee is satisfied that invitation to the hearing was duly issued, the hearing may proceed in the absence of that party. Any timeous written representations previously made by the absent party will, however, still be considered by the committee.
  2. ​​​​​​​Prior to the commencement of the remote hearing the committee’s legal adviser will advise the committee if there is any preliminary proceedings to be dealt with e.g. late letters of representation, objections or any competency issues.
  3. The order in which parties will usually be invited to speak is as follows (please note the convener of the committee has discretion to depart from it if he or she considers it necessary to do so in the interest of fairness):
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The applicant or his/her representative is invited to put his/her case to the committee in support of the application and to address the points raised in any letters of representation or objection which the committee will be considering.
  • Persons present who have submitted representations or objections are given the opportunity to address the committee regarding their concerns.
  • The committee members are given the opportunity to ask the applicant and objector relevant questions.
  • Both parties are then afforded the opportunity to sum up their position.
  • The committee members commence their deliberation in private and then make their decision.
  • The committee members will formally vote in the presence of all parties when they reconvene.
  • The committee can either refuse your licence or grant a licence and when granting a licence the committee may impose conditions in addition to any mandatory or standard conditions to which the licence is subject.

​​​​​​​Procedure to be followed at remote hearing for complaint hearings

A complaint hearing means any type of hearing in relation to an existing licence which has been triggered, in respect of Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.

Procedure:

  1. The committee legal adviser introduces the agenda item and identifies who is present for the hearing and who intends to speak.
  2. The order in which parties will usually be invited to speak is as follows (please note the convener of the committee has discretion to depart from it if he or she considers it necessary to do so in the interest of fairness):
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Where the complainer is effectively the licensing authority (e.g. in complaints triggered by the licensing authority itself), the convener or legal adviser to the committee will explain the grounds for review and the evidential basis for those grounds, details of which will already have been sent to the licence holder. Where the complainer is someone other than a licensing authority they will be given the opportunity to present their position.
  • The licence holder then presents their submissions in response.
  • The committee members are given the opportunity to ask the licence holder and complainer questions.
  • Each party is then given the opportunity to sum up, with the licence holder having the right to sum up last.
  • Committee members commence their deliberation in private and then make their decision.
  • The committee members will formally vote in the presence of all parties when they reconvene.
  • If the complaint is not upheld then the matter is concluded.
  • If the complaint is upheld in whole or in part by the committee members both complainer and the licence holder or his representative have the opportunity to address the committee members in relation to prospective sanctions.
  • Once the committee members have heard from the relevant parties in relation to prospective sanctions they will commence their deliberations in private and make their decision. They will formally vote in the presence of the parties and they can issue a written warning, vary the licence suspend or revoke it.

​​​​​​​Procedure After the Hearing

After the hearing, a notice of determination setting out the committee’s decision will be sent to all parties entitled under the act to receive such a notice. A party is entitled to request a written statement of the Committee’s reason for its decision, such a request for the decision must be made within 21 days of the date of the decision. The licensing authority shall within 10 days (15 days COVID19) of being required to provide a written statement do so.

If you wish to appeal a decision of the regulatory committee then you can lodge an appeal with the relevant Sheriff Court via a Summary Application. You must adhere to deadlines for lodging an appeal, namely an appeal must be lodged with the Sheriff Clerk no later than 28 days from the date of the decision appealed against. We strongly recommend you seek independent legal advice in relation to an appeal. We are unable to provide you with any legal advice concerning an appeal against a regulatory committee decision.

General Information in Relation to the Regulatory Committee

  1. ​​​​​​​There are 14 councillors who sit on the regulatory committee. If any member present has a declarable interest in any particular item on the agenda, they will recuse themselves and he/she will take no part in the consideration of that item.
  2. ​​​​​​​In addition to the committee members at the hearing the committee's legal adviser will be present to provide the committee with advice on procedural and legal issues. Also present will be the clerk to the committee, officers of the council, representatives from Police Scotland, applicants, objectors and licence holders, some of whom will have their legal representatives or other agents with them.
  3. The remote meeting committee decisions are minuted.

Contact us

Legal and Democratic Solutions

Chief Executive’s Office

North Lanarkshire Council

Civic Centre

Windmillhill Street

Motherwell

ML1 1AB

Page last updated:
15 Apr 2021

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