Discipline committees can appoint counsel to assist in certain cases

Self-represented parties are a fact of life for most regulatory tribunals, but there are circumstances where legal counsel can be appointed to assist, to the benefit of everyone involved, Lonny Rosen tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Rosen says there are about 30 self-regulating health-care professional bodies and dozens of other regulators, all of which have disciplinary functions. He says that while registrants alleged to have engaged in professional misconduct are always better off being represented by experienced counsel, the reality is that individuals facing discipline proceedings are often self-represented.

“Some professionals may not be able to afford or want to pay for a lawyer for the entire tribunal hearing. And this can make the hearing more challenging for all involved – the registrant, obviously, but also the prosecutor, and the members of the discipline committee adjudicating the hearing,” Rosen says.

“But, there are other ways a lawyer can assist the registrant, with benefits flowing to all participants.”

One such way is by requesting that the panel appoint a lawyer as amicus curiae — literally a friend of the court. This is becoming an increasingly utilized option because a growing number of regulated professionals are facing discipline proceedings without legal representation, choosing instead to self-represent, he says.

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