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Complaints procedure

1. A ‘Disciplinary Committee’ shall be constituted to consider complaints lodged by any person against a member or members. 

2. The Disciplinary Committee shall be comprised of 7 members appointed by the Trustees. Two of these shall be ‘lay members’, being persons of good repute and standing who are not themselves members of the Association. 

3. The Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee shall be a barrister or solicitor in practice for not less than 10 years. 

4. The quorum shall be three, of whom the Chairman shall be one. 

5. The Disciplinary Committee shall act by a majority of the members present, and in the case of an equality of votes the Chairman shall have a casting vote. 

6. The Secretary shall be appointed by the Trustees and shall as far as possible be independent of the officers of the Association responsible for presenting complaints to the Disciplinary Committee. 

7. Complaints may be lodged by any person, and must be submitted in writing, under confidential cover, and addressed to the Secretary. The name and address of the person making the compliant shall be given, as shall the name and address of the member which is the subject of the complaint. The complaint shall also set out the nature and circumstances of the complaint, and state the relationship between the complainant and the member. 

8. The Secretary shall forward a full copy of the complaint as soon as is reasonably practicable to the Director of the member or member concerned and invite them, if they wishes to do so, to explain or answer the complaint made against them or their by written submissions drafted by himself or a representative. 

9. The Secretary shall then forward the complaint, together with any answer given by the member or member concerned, to the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee, who may then; (a) request further information from the complainant if the case against the member is not sufficiently clear; or (b) stay (or stay on terms) the complaint if in his opinion the primary purpose of the complaint is to gain political advantage over the member or member rather than genuinely to initiate proceedings because a breach of the code may have occurred. 

10. Any statement of fact contained in any complaint must be substantiated by a signed, written statement, from a responsible person, in support of its claim.

11. The Chairman may also direct the member concerned to submit in writing any answer or explanation they may wish to offer. 

12. The Chairman shall then deal with the matter as follows. A. He/she may recommend to the Disciplinary Committee that the case be quashed if; (i) the case is not within its jurisdiction; (ii) the complaint is of a frivolous or trivial nature; (iii) owing to passage of time, or other circumstance, the complaint may be disregarded. B. He/she may decide to dispose of the matter without recourse to a disciplinary inquiry involving the Committee, in which case the Secretary may be directed to: (i) send all the particulars of the case to the member in question, informing him of the Chairman’s intention to recommend to the Committee that a written reprimand and caution be issued; and to (ii) invite the member to accept this form of disposal without the need for a disciplinary inquiry. 

13. If the member does not accept disposal by way of written reprimand, or if the Disciplinary Committee do not accept the Chairman’s recommendation in this regard, then the Committee shall direct the Secretary to make arrangements for an Inquiry. 

14. In the event that, in the opinion of the Disciplinary Committee, the complaint (i) is primarily one that if proven would confer substantial financial or reputational advantage on the complainant; (ii) has been brought to avoid incurring legal costs in proceedings against the member ; (iii) is not of the type that it is in the interest of the Association alone to incur costs prosecuting, then it may request that the Secretary to obtain written confirmation from the complainant that costs of those future proceedings will be met in part or in full as the Committee sees fit. 

15. If information is obtained at any time following the decision to conduct an Inquiry that might have justified the Disciplinary Committee not instigating the Inquiry in the first instance, it may direct that it shall not proceed further. 

16. In the event of an Inquiry being instigated by the Disciplinary Committee, the Secretary shall give notice to the member affected, and instruct a person, who may be a solicitor, to investigate and to present (or brief counsel to present in appropriate cases) the case to the Disciplinary Committee at the Inquiry.

17. Not less than 28 days before the day appointed for holding the Inquiry, the Secretary shall send to the person affected a notice outlining the matters into which the Inquiry will be held, and stating the day, hour and place appointed. 

18. The notice referred to in 17 (above), shall be accompanied by a copy of this Complaints procedure. 

19. Any notice sent shall be sent by registered letter or recorded delivery letter addressed to the Director of the member at its primary place of business, as recorded on the TTA database. 

20. The Chairman may at any time postpone the opening of the Inquiry and direct the Secretary to give any necessary notices to the member concerned including the complainant. 

21. The Inquiry shall normally be held in private unless, upon the application of either of the parties affected, the Disciplinary Committee determine that in the interest of justice or for some other compelling reason the hearing should be held in public. 

22. The member affected and the person or complainant presenting the case to the Disciplinary Committee may be represented by a solicitor or counsel. 

23. If the person entrusted with the task of presenting the case against the member affected considers that the Disciplinary Committee’s deliberations will be assisted by expert evidence, then that evidence shall be submitted to the member affected in written form not less than 28 days from the date upon which the hearing before the Disciplinary Committee is to take place; and to arrange, if so requested by the member affected, for the attendance of those experts at the hearing before the Disciplinary Committee for them to give evidence. 

24. If a representative of the member affected does not appear, the Disciplinary Committee may proceed with the Inquiry in his absence or may adjourn it as it sees fit. 

25. The order of proceedings shall be as follows: 

25.1 Statement of the case against the member affected and the production of evidence in support of it; 

25.2 Statement of the case of the member affected and the production of evidence in support of his case; 

25.3 Reply to the case of the member affected (provided that, except by leave of the Disciplinary Committee, a reply shall not be allowed where the member affected has produced no evidence other than his own, and no issue of law arises); 

25.4 A closing statement of the case of the member affected. 

25.5 Evidence may be received by the Disciplinary Committee by oral statement, written and signed statement, or statutory declaration. A witness shall first be examined by the person producing him, then cross-examined and then re-examined. The Disciplinary Committee shall disregard oral evidence given by any person who refuses to submit to cross-examination. The Disciplinary Committee may, in their discretion, decline to admit the written statement or declaration of a person who is not present, and shall disregard it if, being present, he refuses to submit to cross-examination. 

25.6 Members of the Disciplinary Committee may put through the Chairman, on his invitation, such questions as they think desirable. 

25.7 The Disciplinary Committee may at any stage of the proceedings adjourn the Inquiry to a subsequent meeting of the Disciplinary Committee. The day, hour and place for such meeting shall be appointed at the time of the adjournment, or by the Secretary not less than 21 days before the day appointed, and in the manner specified above. 

25.8 Subject to these Regulations the procedure at the hearing should be determined by the Disciplinary Committee. 

26. On the conclusion of the hearing the Disciplinary Committee shall deliberate in private and shall decide: 

26.1 Whether the misconduct alleged in the complaint is proved; 

26.2 If so, whether such misconduct is such as to render the member affected with regard to whom it is proved unfit to be on the register of members of the Association; 

26.3 If so, the Disciplinary Committee may direct that: 26.3.1 No further action is to be taken against the member ; or 

26.3.2 The member is to be reprimanded; or 

26.3.3 The member ’s membership shall be continued but only subject to such conditions as the Disciplinary Committee think fit; or 

26.3.4 The member shall be suspended upon such conditions as the Disciplinary Committee think fit; 

26.3.5 The member shall be expelled and his name removed from the register of members of the Association; provided that the Disciplinary Committee may postpone its decision or any part of it, either generally or on such terms as it may approve. 

27. The Disciplinary Committee shall notify the member and the complainant of their determination as soon as is reasonably practicable in writing. 

28. Decisions of the Disciplinary Committee may be published. The extent of the publication will be at the discretion of the Chairman of the Association, in consultation with the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee.

29. Applications for Relief may be lodged by any member who, by direction of the Disciplinary Committee, has been expelled or suspended or had its membership continued only subject to conditions may apply in writing to the Secretary for the restoration of its name to the register or for the revocation of conditions imposed or for a variation of a condition imposed as the case may be. 

30. Any such application shall be made in writing to the Secretary stating the grounds on which it is made and signed by the Director of the applicant . 

31. No application for restoration of a name to the register shall be entertained by the Disciplinary Committee unless supported by at least two members currently upon the register of the Association. 

32. The Disciplinary Committee shall afford a representative of the applicant if requested an opportunity of appearing before them in person or by a solicitor or counsel and of adducing evidence orally or in writing. The Disciplinary Committee shall consider the application in private unless it considers that in the interest of justice or for some other compelling reason the application should be considered in public. 

33. The procedure of the Disciplinary Committee in connection with the application shall be such as they may determine. 

34. The Committee may if they think fit adjourn consideration of the application from one meeting to another. 

35. The Secretary shall communicate to the applicant and to the objector, if any, the decision of the Committee and to the Secretary of the Associate

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