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Cases

This section contains details about Hearings to be held by the Standards Commission and the procedures to be followed. It also contains information about decisions the Standards Commission have made.

Hearing Rules

Hearing Process Guide and Rules

The Hearing Process Guide and Rules (Hearing Rules) applies when the Standards Commission, after receiving a report from the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland (CESPLS), decides to hold a Hearing. In certain circumstances and following the agreement of parties involved in the Hearing the Standards Commission may apply an Abbreviated Hearing Process

Section 16 of the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 gives the Standards Commission the power to hold a Hearing.  Section 17 of the 2000 Act enables the Standards Commission to decide what procedures to follow at any Hearing.  

Members of the Standards Commission agreed the content of the Hearing Rules.  The aim of the Hearing Rules is to ensure that Hearings are managed fairly, efficiently and in an open and transparent manner.  

The Hearing Rules state the actions the Standards Commission will take after a decision is made to hold a Hearing.  They also outline the procedures to be followed by anyone who attends a Hearing.  This includes:

  • Members and staff of the Standards Commission (including the Hearing Panel itself)
  • The Respondent(s) (this is the name given to the person or persons who are the subject of the complaint)
  • The CESPLS or his representative(s)
  • Any witnesses
  • Any members of the public or press.

The Standards Commission reviews the Hearing Rules on a regular basis to ensure they remain fit for purpose. The current version is the Hearing Process Guide & Rules 2018 V1, which applies to Hearings arranged in respect of cases received after 1 June 2018.  The Hearing Process Guide and Rules has been updated and the revised version will apply to cases submitted by the CESPLS with effect from 6 November 2018. 

A Hearing Panel may also dispense with or vary any requirement of the Hearing Rules, other than those set by the 2000 Act, where it appears to the Hearing Panel it would be fair and just to do so.

A Note outlining how Hearing Panels of the Standards Commission make decisions (in terms of consensus or majority) on whether or not there has been a breach of a Code of Conduct by the Respondent and, if so, what action should be imposed can be found here.

Relevancy of Evidence at Hearings

The Standards Commission has produced Guidance on the Relevancy of Evidence at Hearings, which can be found here.  This guidance may be of assistance if you have been asked to appear before a Hearing Panel either as the Respondent or as a witness.

Sanctions

Section 19 of the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 obliges the Standards Commission to impose a sanction if a Hearing Panel has found there has been a contravention of a Code of Conduct at a Hearing. The sanctions available to the Hearing Panel are to censure, suspend or disqualify the Respondent.  A Policy outlining the factors the Hearing Panel will consider when making a decision on the sanction to be imposed can be found here and also in the table below.

If you have any questions about the procedures to be followed at a Hearing, please do not hesitate to contact us

Unrepresented Respondents

The Standards Commission understands that being the subject of a Hearing can be daunting, particularly for Respondents who are not represented.  It has, therefore, produced Guidance on Hearings for Respondents who are not represented.  This is intended to assist them in understanding the format of the Hearing and how it will be conducted.  This Guidance can be found here and also in the table below.

Downloads
Hearing Process Guide and Rules 2018

Hearing Process Guide and Rules 2018

Version 1.1
6th November 2018

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Abbreviated Hearing Process

Abbreviated Hearing Process

Version 1.2
19th December 2017

Download PDF
Guidance on the Relevancy of Evidence at Hearings

Guidance on the Relevancy of Evidence at Hearings

Ver 1.1
6th November 2018

Download PDF
Policy on the Application of Sanctions

Policy on the Application of Sanctions

Ver 2.0
27th June 2017

Download PDF
Guidance for Unrepresented Respondents

Guidance for Unrepresented Respondents

Version 1.1
6th November 2018

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Hearing Process Guide & Rules 2018

Hearing Process Guide & Rules 2018

Version 1.0
1st June 2018

Download PDF