A former student of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario brought an application for judicial review of a decision of the Appeal Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (“ICAO”) which allowed an appeal from the sanction imposed by the Discipline Committee and ruled that the student’s name was to be disclosed in the publication reporting the sanction and that his discipline file was not to be sealed. The court held that the decision of the Appeal Committee was reasonable and the application was therefore dismissed.

27. September 2005 0

Administrative law – Accountants – Disciplinary proceedings – Suspensions – Penalties – Publication ban – Judicial review – Jurisdiction of tribunal – Disclosure – Standard of review – Reasonableness simpliciter

John Doe v. Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, [2005] O.J. No. 3013, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, July 14, 2005, P.T. Matlow, E.M. Macdonald and K.E. Swinton JJ.

The Applicant was a registered chartered accounting student who, while working for his father in April 2002, prepared two cheques for his own benefit in the total amount of $20,000 which were drawn on the bank account of a client of his father’s. The Applicant’s actions were subsequently discovered and the Applicant was charged with professional misconduct.

The Applicant entered a plea of guilty before the Discipline Committee. The Discipline Committee heard evidence and submissions on sanction and ordered that the Applicant be reprimanded in writing, that he be fined $1,500, that he be struck off the Registrar of Students, that notice of the decision and Order disclosing the Applicant’s name be given to the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, that notice of this decision and Order, without disclosing the student’s name, be published in “CheckMark” (the magazine of the ICAO) and that the record of proceedings be sealed, and that the student’s name be deleted in the decision, Order, Reasons and charges. In reaching this decision on publication, the majority of the Discipline Committee emphasized the principle of rehabilitation.

The Professional Conduct Committee appealed the non-publication Order and the sealing Order to the Appeal Committee.

The Appeal Committee allowed the appeal and ordered that the Applicant’s name be published in CheckMark. It also set aside the sealing Order on the basis that the Discipline Committee had no jurisdiction to make such an Order. The Appeal Committee held that the Discipline Committee had failed to recognize the Applicant’s misconduct as an act of moral turpitude, had erred in determining that the circumstances of the case were sufficiently rare and unusual to warrant withholding the name from publication, and had erred in giving too much weight in the principle of rehabilitation and not enough weight to the principles of specific and general deterrence.

The court held that the appropriate standard of review was that of reasonableness. The court held that the Appeal Committee’s conclusions were reasonable. The Appeal Committee did not substitute its findings of fact for those made by the Discipline Committee and it did consider the impact of publication on the Applicant.

The application for judicial review was therefore dismissed.

To stay current with the new case law and emerging legal issues in this area, subscribe here.