HS2 Parliamentary petition advice surgery

The HS2 Select Committee recently held an advice surgery for hybrid Bill petitioners and issued the following note on procedure to those appearing in the coming months.


This note provides information on procedures for petition appearances and related matters. Further information on arrangements may be added as necessary.

Witness and evidence arrangements

For a petition to be considered at all by the Committee, a signatory to the petition or a duly appointed agent needs to appear before the Committee.

If you are appearing before the Committee, you can call witnesses (e.g. engineering experts) and cite evidence to support your case, including in the form of maps and models. HS2will need to receive any witness names, and evidence you intend to use, by 5pm, two clear working days* before you are due to appear, so that this information can be forwarded to the Committee members, and be uploaded for display during the hearings. The address to send them to is petitionerexhibits@hs2.org.uk. (Please also contact this office well in advance of that if you intend to use models.) HS2 is required to provide its witness names and evidence in accordance with the same deadlines, and these will be sent to you. Please note that if you have distributed material during a visit you will still need to re-send it to HS2 as such material is otherwise not formally counted as evidence, If you would like to use hard copies provided during a visit this may be possible but you should call the number below first.

You will also need to confirm who will present your case by the same deadline, including if it is a Roll B agent. However, you can change your Roll B agent at short notice if you need to (for instance, because of illness).

Where a series of petitions addresses related issues, the Committee will invite the second and subsequent petitioners to say whether they wish to make points not already addressed by the first petitioner. These petitioners will be asked to address only those further points, unless there are exceptional reasons. Petitioners choosing not to speak will be deemed for formal purposes to have appeared, provided they or their agent are present in the room and identify themselves.

The Committee will take time to hear and understand petitioners’ arguments. However, unnecessarily lengthy argument on either side will be deprecated, as will reading out of speeches without good reason. Petitioners should feel free to include in their evidence a summary of their arguments, of no more than two pages. If they do, they can assume the Committee will have read it and that there will be no need to expand on it in the hearing.

During locus standi hearings (on whether petitioner have a right of audience based on the direct and special effect of the Bill on them), the order of proceedings will be:

  • Statement from petitioner(s) explaining why they believe they are directly and specially affected by the Bill
  • Statement from Bill promoters explaining why they believe the petitioner does not have locus standi
  • Questions from the Committee
  • Petitioner(s) evidence on any disputed facts
  • Examination of petitioner(s) by Bill promoters’ representatives
  • [If called on by the Comrnittee:] Short closing remarks by petitioner(s)
  • Committee decision (which may be postponed until the end of a sitting if there are several petitioners to be heard)

During other Committee sittings, the order of hearing petitions will be:

  • Swearing in of witnesses
  • A short oral introduction on relevant background facts, and facts at issue, given by the Bill promoters’ representatives (unless the petitioner(s) object(s))
  • Petitioner(s) main arguments (may be provided in writing, as explained above)
  • Evidence from any petitioner(s) witnesses, such as experts on engineering etc:
  • Petitioner(s) examines own witnesses first. Leading questions should be avoided as much as possible
  • Promoters cross-examine witnesses
  • Petitioner(s) re-examines on points arising from cross-examination
  • Evidence from promoters’ witnesses:
  • Promoters examine own witnesses first. Leading questions should be avoided as much as possible
  • Petitioner(s) cross-examine
  • Promoters re-examine on points arising from cross-examination
  • Closing statement of promoters, if necessary
  • Closing statement of petitioner(s), if necessary
  • The Committee may intervene with questions at any point
  • Committee decision (which may be postponed until a later stage depending on the order of petitions)

Hearings will take place in Committee Room 5 unless otherwise notified. The public, including other petitioners, may attend, but space may be limited. If petitioners wish to attend in large numbers they should contact this office so that alternative viewing accommodation can be provided if possible.

*For example:

  • 5pm on Wednesday if the hearing is on a Monday;
  • 5pm on Thursday if the hearing is on a Tuesday;
  • 5pm Friday if the hearing is on a Wednesday; and
  • 5pm on a Monday if the hearing is on Thursday.

High Speed 2 Select Committee

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