If the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) receives a complaint about you or your firm, please contact us for advice. We provide legal representation to chartered accountants whose conduct has been called into question.
How do ICAEW investigations work?
If a complaint is made against you in your capacity as a chartered accountant, it will trigger the following process.
1. Review by the assessment team
When the ICAEW receives a complaint, it is obliged to give the matter due consideration. The assessment team reviews the information provided and decides whether you have breached the ICAEW’standards, guidance or regulations. ICAEW may contact you, asking for your comments. Talk to us before responding to the initial complaint. You need to be very careful about what you say. An ill-devised response may work against you, whereas a convincing defence may prevent further action from being taken.
If the assessment team does not believe there are sufficient grounds for a complaint, the matter ends there. But if there is any indication that you may be guilty of misconduct, the case is referred to the Investigation Committee (IC). The complainant can also request a referral to the IC, if they are unhappy with the assessment team’s decision.
2. Referral to the Investigation Committee
The Investigation Committee examines the evidence and decides whether there is a case to answer. If the IC does not think your behaviour amounts to misconduct, the complaint against you is closed. However, if the complainant does not agree with the IC’s decision, they can ask for the matter to be referred to the independent reviewer of complaints.
If the IC does find you guilty of misconduct, it has various options available. You may be cautioned or invited to agree to an order (in which you receive a reprimand or fine). Alternatively, if the IC deems the matter to be serious, the case is referred to the Disciplinary Committee. This also happens if you do not consent to an order.
If the IC invites you to accept an order, please contact us for advice. We can explain your options, helping you decide on the best way forward.
3. Referral to the Disciplinary Committee
If your case is referred to the Disciplinary Committee, it means there is a formal complaint against you. The complaint is heard by a tribunal of three people. The Investigation Committee presents their case. It is strongly recommended that you have your own legal representation. If the Disciplinary Committee finds against you, sanctions will be imposed.
If you disagree with the Disciplinary Committee’s decision, you have 28 days to submit an appeal to the Appeal Committee.
How can we help?
We represent ICAEW members who are under investigation. We handle the entire process for you, from responding to the initial complaint, to arguing your case in front of the Disciplinary Committee, to pursuing an appeal via the Appeal Committee.
It is never easy to be the subject of a complaint. Not only is it stressful to be threatened with disciplinary action, it has practical ramifications too, as the process can last for months – even years. You probably do not have the time to give the matter the attention it needs.
We remove the burden from your shoulders, offering professional legal support for the duration of the investigation. Our legal expertise gives you a huge advantage, maximising your chances of a swift and successful resolution.
Contact us now
If you are under investigation by the ICAEW, please contact us for expert legal advice.
“Following an investigation into a breach of audit regulations I was facing a disciplinary hearing by my regulatory body, The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
At that point I approached Jon for his advice. From the outset I knew I had made the right decision to appoint him. Not only was he very knowledgeable of disciplinary proceedings, he was also supportive during an extremely stressful time.
Throughout the hearing Jon’s skills as an experienced advocate shone through and the outcome he achieved for me was nothing short of miraculous!
It is fair to say that without Jon’s expert representation I would have found myself excluded from membership of the ICAEW and I cannot thank him enough for saving my career.”