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Presenting at a hearing

Presenting in a hearing is the final stage of enforcement action for an officer, and where an officer makes a key contribution.  We will discuss how an enforcement officer can be a persuasive witness in a hearing.

When initiating a proceeding, the Council needs to persuade the judge that what it seeks (whether this be an enforcement order, or a conviction) is appropriate, and that the judge should grant its application.  This application may be subject to opposition and competing evidence.

Enforcement officers are a critical part of the process.  They go on site, monitoring activities. They issue the abatement notices, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and are witnesses themselves.  It is their work which is presented in the hearing to establish the case. 

As a witness, you want to persuade the judge that your evidence (or your expert opinion) should be preferred over the other parties.  You want to be a clear and convincing witness in cross examination and be seen by the judge as reliable and convincing. This depends on your presentation, but it also relies on all the work done in advance - the gathering of evidence, the site visit notes and photos, the understanding of the underlying rules, and the drafting of witness statements.

Based on our experience in hearings, we will discuss how to be the type of witness that the court will look to as reliable and persuasive.  We will provide guidance on how present oral evidence and respond to cross examination and questions from the judge.  We will also discuss the background work which goes into being an effective witness.  Following this session, you should have an understanding of how to be a strong witness in a hearing.


Friday 3 November



Stephen Quinn
Partner, DLA Piper


Stephen Quinn is a litigation partner who specialises in environmental, infrastructure, building and local government litigation.   He has extensive enforcement experience, acting for a range of Councils across the  country.  He has provided advice on enforcement options, and appeared before the Environment Court, District Court and High Court on enforcement matters. 


Kate Rogers 
Senior Associate, DLA Piper


Kate has a focus on environmental enforcement matters, and has acted  for a range of councils  in prosecutions, applications for enforcement orders and abatement notices, and providing general enforcement advice.   She has been involved in prosecutions on a range of topics,including noise, earthworks, forestry, vehicle hoarding, occupation of the CMA, and notable trees. 


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