Member guide to disciplinary process

The disciplinary process

If the matter is referred to a DT you'll be notified and served with the Casebook of Materials at least 20 business days before the hearing. Disciplinary Tribunal proceedings are heard in confidence. You may attend the hearing alone, with a support person or with legal or other representation. You may discuss the process and the need for representation with the PCO before the hearing.

The Disciplinary Tribunal consists of a Chair and four Panel Members, but the matter may proceed with a quorum of three. The Disciplinary Tribunal is made up of both CPA Australia Members and non-members and is independent of CPA Australia. The Investigating Case Manager (ICM) drafts the charges and must prove the case on behalf of CPA Australia.

Proceedings are formal and are independently recorded for the purposes of a transcript.

You will be asked if you ‘admit’ or ‘deny’ the complaint. If you deny the complaint the tribunal will adjourn to consider whether to sustain the complaint. A decision will be made based on the balance of probabilities, based on the CPA Australia constitution.

For a complaint to be sustained, CPA Australia must prove that you have breached the Constitution, By-Laws, Code of Professional Conduct or Applicable regulations. If the complaint is sustained, all parties can make submissions. Once all submissions have been made, the Disciplinary Tribunal will adjourn to consider the penalty to be imposed.

When the tribunal reconvenes, you’ll be advised of the outcome. Once the Appeal Period has expired, it will be published on our website.

After the hearing you will receive a letter with the transcript of proceedings that formally notifies you of the outcome and advises you of the date by which you may appeal.

Frequently asked questions about the Disciplinary Tribunal process

Penalties that may be applied

The Disciplinary Tribunal may impose any of the following penalties:

  • forfeiture of membership on such terms and conditions as to Readmission (or non-Readmission) as may be prescribed
  • suspension from membership for any period not exceeding five years on such terms and conditions as to Reinstatement as may be prescribed
  • a fine not exceeding the Maximum Fine
  • admonishment
  • a severe reprimand
  • for such period and upon such terms as may be imposed:
    • cancellation or suspension of any certificate, privilege, right or benefit issued or granted to the Member
    • prohibition on the use of any designation permitted to be used by the Member
  • restriction for such period and upon such terms and conditions as may be imposed on the permission or ability of the Member or any Practice Entity with which the Member is Closely Associated, to trade under, display or utilise any Intellectual Property of the Company including any status or designation
  • the lowering of Allocated Membership Status and/or removal of any specialist designation
  • a direction to undertake such additional number of hours in such course of Continuing Professional Development as may be described
  • a direction to undertake such Quality Assurance as may be prescribed
  • such other penalty as may be deemed appropriate in the circumstances.

Appealing Disciplinary Tribunal findings

Timeline for lodging an appeal

You have 20 business days from the date you receive the letter advising you of the Outcome of the Disciplinary Tribunal hearing to lodge an appeal.

Appeals must be sent to the General Manager Professional Conduct for us to consider your appeal.

Grounds for lodging an appeal

CPA Australia By-Law 5.7 lists the grounds in which a Determination of a Complaint by the Disciplinary Tribunal can be appealed.

If you require further information concerning the grounds for appeal, please refer to the By-Laws in your Casebook of Materials

You must provide detailed reasons accompanying your appeal, otherwise it may not be accepted.

Appeal grounds that won’t be accepted

There are some grounds for appeal that we do not accept. These include:

i. solely on the question of costs; or
ii. in respect of a Determination to which the Member has consented; or
iii. in respect of a decision under By-Law 5.9 (Publication).

If you don’t provide detailed reasons for the grounds of your appeal, it may not be accepted.

Deferment of costs

There is no appeal for costs, so these must be paid. You may also incur costs for an appeal.

Increasing penalties

There is always the possibility that the Appeals Tribunal increases the penalty imposed by the Disciplinary Tribunal.