In the recent High Court case of G (E) v Society of Actuaries in Ireland the Applicant sought an order of certiorari, quashing the finding of the Investigating Committee (the “Committee”) of the respondent Society that there was a prima facie evidence of misconduct against the Applicant.
The original complaint of alleged professional misconduct was made to the Society of Actuaries in Ireland by the Applicant’s brother. The complaint related to allegations of misconduct in respect of the management of the financial affairs and estate of his late mother and brother.
At first instance, the respondent society wrote to the applicant outlining that the Committee on Professional Conduct was establishing an Investigating Committee to examine the matter pursuant to the rules of the Society’s Disciplinary Scheme. The Applicant claimed he was not a practising actuary in respect of the matters complained of and on that basis any finding of misconduct was unlawful. In accordance with the scheme and following extensive investigations, the Committee furnished the Applicant with a case report detailing all of the relevant facts thought to be material, together with the corresponding determinations of the Committee. The Applicant alleged that the Committee was in breach of fair procedures by denying him an opportunity of an oral hearing.
The Court considered the extensive affidavits and exhibits in the case, the detailed correspondence and documentation and, in particular, the extensive engagement between the Complainant, the Applicant and the Committee.
Mr Justice McDermott was satisfied with the extent of this engagement and the content of the determination reached by the Committee. The Court also deemed the reasons given by the Committee to be sufficiently clear and was satisfied that the Committee fully addressed the issue of whether there was a prima facie case of misconduct by the Applicant.
The Court observed that there was no obligation on the Committee to conduct an oral hearing at the investigative stage in circumstances where there was no finding of fact against the Applicant and where he would be given an oral hearing before the Disciplinary Tribunal pursuant to the relevant disciplinary scheme.
The Court was satisfied that the Committee had observed the Applicant’s rights to fair procedures and natural justice, and on that basis refused the application.
The full judgment can be accessed here.
Authors: Lyn McCarthy and Thomas Dowling