Should either the society or the applicant ask for an opportunity of being heard by the Authority, then it will invite both parties to attend a hearing. If neither party so requests, the Authoritywill normally decide the application on the basis of the written evidence available to it, including the application, the societys comments (paragraph BSOG 1A.5.3 G) and the applicants written comments (paragraphs BSOG 1A.5.4 G and BSOG 1A.5.5 G) together with the results of any enquiries the Authority itself may have made.
The hearing will normally be held in public. However, if either the applicant or the society requests that the hearing be held in private, the person(s) taking the hearing will listen to arguments from both parties before deciding whether to admit the public (which may include representatives of the media).
Whilst the proceedings will be comparatively informal, the applicant and the society may, if they wish, be legally represented. In any such case, the Authoritymust be notified at least 5 working days in advance of the hearing so that it may inform the other party. The applicant and the society may also be assisted by such other persons as the Authorityconsiders reasonable in the circumstances.
The person(s) taking the hearing will introduce the proceedings and deal with any preliminary matters. The applicant and the society will then each be invited to present their cases, in that order. Each will have the opportunity to comment on the case presented by the other. The person(s) taking the hearing may ask such questions as they consider necessary, particularly to establish or elucidate matters of fact, but will not respond to questions from either of the parties. This procedure may be varied according to the circumstances of the particular case.