Discipline Tribunal

Discipline hearing

What is the Discipline Tribunal?

ICAS safeguards the reputation of the accountancy profession by maintaining public confidence and by setting high standards of integrity, professional competence and by ensuring, through periodic quality reviews of members’ practices, that these standards are maintained.

When these standards are not met the Discipline Tribunal has the power to impose a number of sanctions, including financial penalties and expulsion from Membership. Discipline and Appeal Tribunal Regulations.

Upcoming hearings

There are no upcoming hearings.

Members of the Discipline Tribunal Panel


The Disciplinary Appointments Committee shall appoint a Discipline Panel comprising no fewer than six Members of ICAS, no fewer than four Public Interest Members and no fewer than two legally qualified persons.

Three members of the Discipline Panel, including one Member of ICAS, one Public Interest Member and one legally qualified member, shall comprise a quorum.

Current members

Chairman - Mr M P Anderson LLB and Sheriff A G McCulloch

CA Members - Mr R B M Graham CA, Mr G O Sutherland CA FIMgt FRSA, Mr I W G McDonald CA, Mr K Malik CA, Mr L MacLeod CA and Mrs C Probert CA

Public Interest Members - Mr B W Minto LLB, Colonel J Robertson, Miss A Donaldson, Mrs F Havenga, Dr J Rees and Mrs V Paterson

Clerk - Mr Eric Cumming


The Discipline Tribunal process

Receipt of a Complaint

The Investigation Committee refers any formal complaint for prosecution before the Discipline Tribunal to the Chairman of the Panel. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Chairman shall appoint a Discipline Tribunal from the Panel members to hear the complaint.

Before the Hearing

The defendant and Tribunal Panel will be given 6/8 weeks’ notice of the hearing date, time and place by way of letter, included with the letter, will be;

  • A copy of the formal complaint with a summary of the case against the defendant
  • Copies of the relevant correspondence and papers
  • Copies of the Tribunal regulations

Seven days before the hearing ICAS will publish a notice online with the details of the date, time and place for the Tribunal hearing and name the member, firm or student appearing before the Tribunal. The notice does not publish the charges contained within the formal complaint.

Either party can apply to the Tribunal for the hearing, or part of it, to be heard in private excluding press and public from the hearing of the complaint, or part of it. Applications must be submitted to the Chairman no more than 14 days after the date of the letter advising of the hearing.

The defendant should rely on the advice of their solicitor before speaking to press about either the case or the charges which have been brought against them by the Investigation Committee. If the defendant chooses not to be represented by a solicitor then guidance will be provided at the start of the Tribunal by the Chairman who will explain the procedure for how the Tribunal hearing will be conducted.

Hearing a formal complaint

The hearing of a formal complaint is conducted in accordance with the Tribunal Regulations. The standard of proof before the Tribunal is the balance of probabilities.

The Chartered Accountant member, student or firm appearing before the Tribunal can be represented by a legally qualified person, another chartered accountant member or a person approved by the Tribunal. The Investigation Committee can also be represented by a legally qualified person.

The Tribunal of three sits with a fully Qualified Legal Chairman, a CA member and a Lay member. The Tribunal Clerk is also present during the hearing to advise members but does not take part in the decision making process. There may also be on occasion a shorthand writer present who will take notes of the Tribunal proceedings.

On arrival Tribunal Members and Press will be shown to the room where the hearing will be heard. Witnesses will be met by the clerk who will show them to a room where they can wait prior to the hearing. Witnesses will be given an approximate time and will be collected when called.

The Tribunal will hear evidence from both parties on the complaints. This can include both written evidence and witness testimony. Members of the Tribunal can also ask questions of both parties and any witnesses called by the parties.

If held in public, the members of the press or public who attend a hearing are entitled to hear what is said but they are not entitled to see written material. All written material and information provided in connection with disciplinary proceedings is confidential, including any application to proceed in private.

Where the Tribunal is considering sensitive or personal information relating to the defender or a witness they may order that the Press and Public be excluded from the proceedings and will be asked to leave the hearing until such time as the Tribunal decides to resume the hearing in an open forum.

At the end of the hearing

The Discipline Tribunal will decide whether the formal complaint has been proved and may issue an oral decision on the day with a written decision issued thereafter or reserve its decision to a sentencing hearing. Twenty-one days are then allowed for an appeal to be lodged.

If the formal complaint has been found proved against a student member, the sanctions that can be imposed include an order that the individual be declared ineligible for admission to membership. If the complaint has been found proved against a chartered accountancy firm, the sanctions that be imposed include loss of authorisations, reprimand and the imposition of a financial penalty or the award of costs. There is no upper limit to the amount of any financial penalty or award of costs which a Discipline Tribunal can make.

Appeals

The defendant can appeal the decision of the Tribunal but you must do so in writing within 21 days of the hearing. The Appeal must satisfy the grounds for appeal set out in the ICAS Rules.

Publicity of Decisions

If after the appeal period no appeal is lodged the decision of the Tribunal becomes final, and if publicity is part of the decision then the decision will be published.

In all cases, the Discipline Tribunal will publish its decision in the online ICAS Disciplinary notices and in the CA Magazine. In addition, the Tribunal may also direct that publicity be given in the national press or in the local press where the chartered accountant member, student or firm practice.


Have a  question? Contact the Tribunals Clerk.

Topics

  • Complaints

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