Concerned right to cross-examine in public inquiry.
Public inquiry regarding proposed construction of
Respondent objectors challenged Department of
Environment’s method of predicting future traffic needs.
Inspector allowed them to call expert witnesses but
not to cross-examine Department’s representatives on this matter.
Inquiry allowed construction to go ahead.
Respondents applied for quashing of scheme.
In House of Lords, Lord Diplock:
Warned of dangers of applying to administrative
procedures concepts appropriate to ordinary civil litigation.
Inspector has wide discretion as to procedure used.
So refusal to disallow X-examination not unfair per
Government must depend on circumstances.
Relevant circumstances here:
– Nature of topic.
– Qualifications of maker of statement
– Forensic competence of proposed cross-examiner.
– Most importantly, Inspector’s own views as to
whether X-examination will enable him to make report which is more useful to Minister.
Refusal not unfair here as method of assessment of
traffic needs was matter of government policy and therefore unsuitable for
investigation at inquiry.