Professional Regulation and Discipline

Our firm has broad experience in regulatory matters. We have worked with regulators, investigators, and disciplinary hearing panels. We have worked with applicants and registrants to navigate fitness hearings, complaint investigations and disciplinary hearings. We provide governance advice to boards and committees, and represent parties in judicial reviews, board reviews and appeals. We have worked in many professions, including legal, education and health.

General Counsel

To deal with the growing complexity of professional regulation, regulatory bodies regularly utilize general counsel services to assist them in governing with a focus on the public interest, procedural fairness, and transparency. Ng Ariss Fong provides a range of services to regulatory bodies, including

  • analyzing and advising on legislative changes,
  • designing, writing and amending bylaws, standards, policies and procedures,
  • training committee members and staff,
  • writing and advising on manuals, forms, brochures, and other written materials,
  • assisting in strategic planning,
  • assisting with the many legal issues which can routinely arise at different stages of the regulatory process, including certification, quality assurance, complaints and investigations, consensual resolutions, disciplinary and competence hearings, and name publication,
  • privacy and freedom of information, and
  • responding to court actions, judicial reviews and appeals.

Ng Ariss Fong provides workshops to boards, committees and panels as described further below.

Prosecution Counsel

In any disciplinary process, there is typically an investigation stage, and if warranted, a disciplinary or competence hearing. Ng Ariss Fong can assist regulatory bodies and their general counsel at all these stages, including

  • performing investigations,
  • assessing if a matter should proceed to a hearing,
  • settlement or consensual resolution negotiations,
  • preparing cases for hearing, including drafting charges or citations, evidence gathering, preparing witnesses, strategic planning and legal research,
  • ensuring that procedural fairness is accorded to respondents throughout the complaint and hearing process, including adequate notice, full disclosure, and a full opportunity to respond,
  • acting as prosecution counsel at hearings, and
  • representing regulatory bodies in judicial reviews and appeals.

Independent Hearing Counsel

Formal inquiries are adversarial proceedings which place great demands on members of hearing panels who may need legal expertise to assist in their duties. Independent hearing counsel is appropriate for such guidance, to assure no appearance of bias which might arise from the inappropriate use of general counsel. Ng Ariss Fong can provide advice concerning procedure, evidence, administrative law, and the sufficiency of reasons.

Defence Counsel

Professionals who face allegations of misconduct or incompetence are at risk of losing their reputations, their livelihoods and their professional certifications. Given the often emotional impact of allegations and the adversarial nature of formal hearings, professionals are well advised to retain counsel experienced in such administrative processes. Ng Ariss Fong acts as legal counsel for professionals to assure they receive assertive and thorough representation. Defence counsel services include:

  • preparing responses to the regulatory body at the investigation stage,
  • negotiation with the regulatory body where pre-hearing resolution is appropriate,
  • preparation of a defence including investigation of witnesses and documents, legal research, and submission drafting,
  • assuring compliance with statutes and procedural fairness requirements by regulatory bodies, and seeking court review where necessary,
  • representing professionals at formal hearings, and
  • carrying out judicial reviews and appeals to courts where tribunals have committed errors.

Ng Ariss Fong has established precedent-setting cases concerning the necessity of mental culpability for findings of professional misconduct in BC, the right of professionals to maintain anonymity during appeal processes, errors in reasoning by tribunals, and public interest factors bearing on name publication decisions.

Workshops

Ng Ariss Fong provides a number of workshops, both custom-designed and ready-made. The following workshops are ready-made and may be conducted as is or customized to varying degrees to suit the particular regulatory body:

  • Board Orientation (half day)
  • Professional regulation mandate
  • Board governance
  • Chair duties
  • Confidentiality
  • Conflicts
  • Division of duties amongst the board, committees, and staff
  • Financial obligations
  • AGM and reporting obligations
  • Materials
  • Inquiry Committee Training (one day or two days)
  • Complaints
  • Procedural Fairness
  • Summary dismissals
  • Investigations
  • Extraordinary suspensions
  • Informal resolutions and undertakings
  • Citations
  • Publication
  • Role playing activities for participants
  • Demonstrations by workshop leader
  • Materials
  • Disciplinary Committee Training (one day or two days)
  • Citations
  • Procedural Fairness
  • Extraordinary suspensions
  • Prehearing preparations
  • Hearing stepsi>
  • Applications
  • Witnesses
  • Evidence primer
  • Opening and Closing Statements
  • Costs
  • Publication
  • Role playing activities for participants
  • Demonstrations by workshop leaders
  • Materials
  • Writing Reasons (one day)
  • Committee coordination, protecting confidentiality, and security of information
  • Illuminating the reasoning pathway
  • Credibility
  • Evidence primer
  • Writing skills
  • Practice writing reasons
  • Materials
  • Publication (half day)
  • Where and when to publish
  • Procedural fairness
  • Factors to deliberate
  • Drafting publications
  • Practice drafting publications
  • Materials

Key Contact: Lisa C. Fong