A. Who may appeal: The respondent can appeal Findings and/or sanctions; the complainant may appeal only the findings. The appealing party is the Appellant.

B. Basis: An appeal must be based on one or both of these grounds: (a) the party was refused reasonable opportunity to obtain and/or present evidence to the Hearing Panel within these guidelines and that could have substantially altered the outcome, and/or (b) gross irregularity in the proceedings as established by these guidelines and that could have substantially altered the outcome. There are no other grounds.

C. Time Requirements: An appeal must be submitted in writing to the Executive Director (ED) managing the case by/on the 30th day from Appellant’s receipt of notice of the Hearing Panel decision (X.D.). The Appeal must state the grounds (B. above) and provide any written material presented to the Hearing Panel that s/he believes justifies the appeal.

D. Action: The ED has sole discretion to extend the 30-day deadline for extraordinary circumstances presented to the ED by the Appellant in writing prior to the 30th day. If the extension is denied, the Appellant must meet the 30 day deadline or the decision of the Hearing Panel remains in full force and effect as the final action of the Association(s). The ED will forward the appeal and the written information used by the Hearing Panel in its determination to the Appeals Panel Chair.

E. Panel: The Ethics Commission Chair who did not chair the Hearing will chair the Appeal Panel. The original ED will continue as case manager. Three members of the Ethics Commission(s) who did not serve on the Hearing Panel or have previous association with the particular case will comprise the Appeals Panel appointed by the ED and Appeals Panel Chair.

F. Action: The Appeals Panel will give substantial deference to the factual findings of the Hearing Panel.

1. the Appeals Panel will deny the appeal if it determines that

a. the Appellant was not refused reasonable opportunity to obtain and have evidence presented to the Hearing Panel; or
b. the Appellant may have been refused reasonable opportunity to obtain and have evidence presented to the Hearing Panel but that the omitted evidence would not have substantially altered the decision of the Hearing Panel; or
c. there were no gross irregularities in the proceedings before the Hearing Panel; or
d. there may have been gross irregularities in the proceedings before the Hearing Panel but that those did not substantially alter the decision of the Hearing Panel.

If the appeal is denied, the decision of the Hearing Panel remains in full force and effect as the final action of the Association(s).

2. the Appeals Panel will accept the appeal if it determines that the decision of the Hearing Panel was substantially altered because

a. the Appellant was refused reasonable opportunity to obtain and/or present evidence to the Hearing Panel; and/or
b. Gross irregularities existed or occurred in the Hearing Panel proceedings.

3. if the appeal is accepted, the Appeals Panel may, in its sole discretion:

a. send the case back to the Hearing Panel for further proceedings so that all evidence may be presented and considered; or
b. send the case back to the Hearing Panel for further proceedings that do not include any gross irregularities; or
c. determine that it can disregard any gross irregularities that occurred and that the evidence before the Hearing Panel is otherwise complete. In which case, the Appeal Panel may issue a final decision on the underlying complaint by:

(i) dismissing the complaint, or
(ii) determining that a violation of some or all Standards alleged occurred and imposing such sanction as may be justified and that were available to the Hearing Panel. (Parties, Hearing Panel members, investigators and others may be contacted for information to assist the Appeals Panel in this determination.)

G. Finality: A final decision by the Appeals Panel is not subject to any further appeal and constitutes final and binding action by the Association(s).