Updates to ICAEW's disciplinary framework will take effect from 1 June 2023.
Find out more and access the updated regulations and bye-laws.
The current version of the Disciplinary Committee Regulations is effective for all cases referred to the Disciplinary Committee on or after the 1 October 2019. This version includes the introduction of a robust system of case management; which helps all parties to clarify the formal complaint(s) at a much earlier stage of the disciplinary process and to deal with these more efficiently.
Under the old Disciplinary Committee Regulations (effective 15 October 2018 to 30 September 2019), notice of what the complaint was about (the formal complaint), evidence and a date for the final hearing was issued at least 42 days before a hearing date. The ICAEW member/firm then had until 21 days before the hearing to file the papers they intend to rely on.
Under the new system, this count back from 42 days is removed. Instead, a new stage has been introduced – a case management hearing (usually by phone) – which all parties should attend.
Ahead of the case management hearing, a report stating the Investigation Committee’s case and the member/firm’s defence and evidence are filed and made available to all parties. This enables parties to explain and fully understand the formal complaint at the case management hearing and in advance of the final hearing.
At the case management hearing, the chair (who is experienced at chairing disciplinary tribunal hearings) may ask questions of both parties to establish:
- the issues in the case;
- if evidence can be agreed;
- if he/she needs to make directions to help the parties and/or the final hearing to understand the issues; and
- to ensure the formal complaint(s) is/are ready for the final hearing.
Where possible and if appropriate, cases can be resolved at this stage. For example, if the ICAEW member/firm admits the formal complaint before or after the case management hearing, a sanctions hearing will then be arranged. In these cases, a final hearing is not necessary. This quicker resolution means that all parties benefit from cost and time savings and minimises the stress involved in these situations.
This new case management system, should also result in fewer contested final hearings, adjournments and reduce cost and stress for all parties, because:
- the ICAEW member/firm with a complaint against them will understand the complaint and be able to brief legal representation at a much earlier stage in the process;
- at the case management hearing, all parties will have much earlier and clearer understanding of the issues and the evidence;
- some less complex complaints won’t need to be heard at a final hearing as they can be resolved at a case management hearing; and
- for cases where there is a medical reason for the member's behaviour or subsequent failure to engage, it can be identified early and the member can be referred to the Fitness Committee (see question 15), which is set up to deal with these particular issues.
This flowchart illustrates the new process introduced a result of the new Disciplinary Committee Regulations (effective from 1 October 2019).