has opened up its tribunal hearings to the public and press after a
passionate debate at today’s council meeting.
The council approved plans to fix a date to open hearings for disciplinary
and appeals cases heard before its tribunals.
The majority of professional bodies hold their hearings in public and the
Oversight Board had recommended that the institute made the change.
Proposals point to the AIDB’s successful airing of the
Mayflower case, which the institute said
proved that no significant issues occurred that could bear upon the decision to
hold a public hearing.
‘A modern professional body must demonstrate that its processes are objective
and in the public interest,’ said Vernon Soare, ICAEW executive director of
Council members voiced concerns about how to evaluate what circumstances
could lead to a closed case, while other said the proposals required further
discussions over several months.
But the vote was in favour of introducing the new tribunal system: 53
agreeing to the scheme, 13 against and five abstentions.
The ICAEW council had previously concluded that issues such as implications
for client confidentiality and the risk of action for defamation should not
inhibit a public tribunal.
Exceptional occasions could see closed tribunals, such as where the public
interest is at risk.
The proposed effective date is 1 January, 2008 and the decision is expected
to cost the institute £30,000 in additional out-goings.
The institute’s tribunals tend to deal with smaller cases than those handled
by the AIDB.
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