Our professional disciplinary lawyers have experience of defending accountants before the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) in relation to allegations of misconduct against AAT members.
The AAT’s stated aim is to ensure that members behave ethically and professionally, as measured against the standards set out in the AAT’s Code of Professional Ethics. The AAT receives a variety of complaints against its members, but will only seek to investigate issues that genuinely relate to a member’s misconduct.
Referral to the AAT Disciplinary Tribunal
The AAT will refer AAT members to the Disciplinary Tribunal, if the Investigations Team are satisfied that the evidence is strong enough to objectively provide a realistic prospect that the member will be found guilty of misconduct, unless it is considered not to be in the public’s interest to refer the member.
Referrals to the disciplinary tribunal are more likely where the following issues exist;
- An abuse of a position of trust or authority;
- Likelihood of repetition;
- Clients’ interests have been seriously compromised;
- Financial loss.
Referrals to the disciplinary tribunal are less likely when the following issues exist:
- Misconduct related to a genuine mistake or misunderstanding;
- The member has relevant health issues;
- The member is no longer practising;
- Full co-operation is given to the AAT and prompt redress offered to any relevant clients.
Representation before the AAT Disciplinary Tribunal
Our experienced team of lawyers can represent AAT members before the AAT’s Disciplinary Tribunal.
The tribunal will hear submissions and evidence from both Professional Standards and the AAT member and their lawyer. The tribunal will then make any factual findings about the allegations. Having decided on the facts, the tribunal will decide whether the facts amount to misconduct.
If misconduct is found, the tribunal will hear representations from both sides and will then decide which of the following sanctions to impose:
- Expulsion from the AAT;
- Suspension from the AAT;
- Removal of fellow membership status;
- Specific conditions imposed upon the member’s license;
- Fine (maximum of £5000) – imposed alone or with another sanction;
- Reprimand and/or warning;
- Require a member to seek advice over future conduct;
- No further action.
The Tribunal will also decide whether the AAT member should have to pay the AAT’s costs, subject to the current maximum of £15,000.
When deciding on the most appropriate sanction, in our experience, the tribunal will always consider issues such as remorse, remediation, insight, personal factors and the member’s previous good character. It is important for the mitigation on behalf of the accountant to address each of these issues.
Appealing the decision
An AAT member can appeal against a decision made by the Disciplinary Tribunal, but any such appeal must be lodged within 14 days of the member being served with the written notice of the decision. The timescale for obtaining advice about an appeal is therefore very tight.
We can give you practical and straightforward advice regarding your prospects of success of bringing an appeal against a decision of the AAT Disciplinary Tribunal, as well as legal representation in an appeal.
Get in touch
If you are facing an investigation by the AAT about an allegation of misconduct, please contact us today, to speak to one of our defence lawyers for accountants. We will be happy to have a conversation in strict confidence and without obligation.
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What we do...
Our solicitors can support you at every stage of the AAT disciplinary process. Our services include:
- Advice and guidance throughout an investigation;
- Defending you in an AAT disciplinary hearing if necessary;
- Provision of advice and representation, where necessary, in an appeals process.
If this isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, our other accountancy law services include: