Having to answer to disciplinary proceedings is one of the most stressful and potentially damaging experiences that any professional person can encounter. When your professional reputation and potentially your practicing certificate are on the line, we can assist. At every step of the process from the investigatory stage through to appearing on your behalf before the disciplinary panel and at appeal hearings, we can support your arguments, present your case and advise you on the law and procedure.
On 10 July 2014 Ian Anderson (Solicitor Opus Law) represented a chartered accountant and fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) before the ACCA Disciplinary Committee. Our client had previously been convicted of three criminal offences at the Crown Court. He had subsequently failed to declare those convictions to the ACCA. It was alleged that by failing to disclose the convictions our client had been dishonest, which was something that he denied.
ACCA rules prescribe that any member who is convicted of a criminal offence is automatically guilty of misconduct. Sadly, the guideline sanction for misconduct where a criminal offence has been committed is to exclude the member from practice.
An investigation into our client’s alleged misconduct was launched in early 2013. Opus Law produced a comprehensive bundle of documentation to support our client’s case. Preliminary matters attended to included obtaining a full set of case papers from the solicitors who had represented our client in the criminal courts along with sentencing guidelines and a compendium of case law to assist the disciplinary panel. Legal arguments and a statement setting out our client’s case were prepared and submitted at a later stage.
At the disciplinary hearing we argued that the allegation of failing to declare the criminal conviction should not be found proven as a genuine and explicable error of judgement had occurred, rather than a deliberate and calculated act of dishonesty.
We argued strongly that the accountant in question should not be excluded from practice despite his criminal convictions and were able to put forward significant personal and professional mitigation supported by relevant documentation.
We are delighted to report that our client received a formal reprimand from the disciplinary panel. Vitally, he kept his practicing certificate and is now able to return to practice without restrictions or conditions.
In our experience, many professionals do not seek assistance in relation to disciplinary proceedings either through a lack of understanding that they can have a lawyer present, a feeling of shame that they are before their disciplinary body or worry that the fees will be extortionate.
At Opus Law we can help any person facing proceedings before a regulatory body. We will explore funding options for your case and deal with the stress and pressure such proceedings can bring, leaving you free to concentrate on what really matters; running your business. To speak to a solicitor about regulatory and disciplinary representation please contact Ian Anderson on the telephone number on this website. All calls are confidential.
Ian Anderson is a solicitor who deals with regulatory law and complex criminal cases. He has appeared for accountants and medical professionals before the ACCA Disciplinary Panel, the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS).
Case represented by the Opus Law team.