Teaching Council Act 2001

43

F42 [ Inquiry by Disciplinary Committee

43. (1) The Disciplinary Committee shall hold an inquiry into the fitness to teach of a registered teacher in respect of a complaint referred to it by the Investigating Committee under section 42(9)(a) .

(2) As soon as is practicable after a complaint is referred to it under section 42(9)(a) , the Disciplinary Committee shall cause a notice in writing to be given to

(a) the registered teacher the subject of the complaint of the following:

(i) the referral of the complaint to the Disciplinary Committee;

(ii) the nature of the matter that is to be the subject of the inquiry, including the particulars of any evidence in support of the complaint;

(iii) the opportunity for the registered teacher to request that the inquiry be held by examination of documents in accordance with subsection (4) ;

(iv) if a hearing is being held as part of an inquiry, the opportunity for the registered teacher, or the registered teacher s representative, to be present and to defend the registered teacher at the hearing;

(v) if a hearing is being held as part of an inquiry, the opportunity for the registered teacher to request that some or all of the hearing be held otherwise than in public if the registered teacher can show reasonable and sufficient cause;

and

(b) if a hearing is being held as part of an inquiry, any witnesses who may be required to give evidence at the hearing (including, where appropriate, the complainant) of the opportunity of the witness to request that some or all of the hearing be held otherwise than in public if the witness can show reasonable and sufficient cause.

(3) For the purpose of an inquiry under this section, the chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee shall appoint, from among the members of the Disciplinary Committee, a panel consisting of not less than 3 and not more than 5 persons, of whom a majority shall be registered teachers and Schedule 3 shall apply.

(4) Subject to such rules as may be made under Schedule 3 , a panel may, at the request of, or with the consent of, the registered teacher concerned hold an inquiry under this section by an examination of documents and written submissions from the complainant and the registered teacher, including any documents and written submissions considered by the Investigating Committee in relation to the complaint, in place of a hearing.

(5) For the purposes of an inquiry under this section by an examination of documents, the panel shall provide the registered teacher with a notice stating that the registered teacher may make submissions in relation to the inquiry in writing to the panel within such time as may be specified in the notice.

(6) A panel may, at any time after its appointment under subsection (3) and having considered the complaint the subject of the inquiry, request the registered teacher who is the subject of the complaint to do one or more of the following:

(a) if appropriate, undertake not to repeat the conduct the subject of the complaint;

(b) undertake to attend a specified professional development course, or such other course as the panel considers appropriate;

(c) undertake to comply with such requirements as may be specified for the purposes of improving his or her competence and performance as a registered teacher;

(d) consent to seek the assistance of such services relating to health and welfare as may be specified;

(e) consent to being censured.

(7) Where a registered teacher gives an undertaking or consent in relation to all matters which are the subject of a request from a panel under subsection (6) , the inquiry into the complaint shall be considered to be completed.

(8) Where a registered teacher refuses to give an undertaking or consent in relation to all matters which are the subject of a request from a panel under subsection (6) , the panel shall continue with the inquiry as if the request had not been made.

(9) Where a hearing is being held before a panel as part of an inquiry, the hearing shall be held in public unless

(a) following a notification under section 43(2) , the registered teacher or a witness who will be required to give evidence at the inquiry or about whom personal matters may be disclosed at the inquiry requests the panel to hold all or part of the hearing otherwise than in public, and

(b) the panel is satisfied that it would be appropriate in the circumstances to hold the hearing or part of the hearing otherwise than in public.

(10) The panel shall give notice in writing to the registered teacher the subject of a complaint referred to the Disciplinary Committee of the date, time and place of any hearing of the complaint in sufficient time for the registered teacher to prepare for the hearing.

(11) At the hearing of a complaint before a panel

(a) the Director, or any other person with leave of the panel, shall present the evidence in support of the complaint,

(b) the testimony of witnesses attending the hearing shall be given on oath, and

(c) there shall be a full right to cross-examine witnesses and call evidence in defence and reply.

(12) Any member of the panel may administer oaths for the purposes of an inquiry.

(13) Subject to any rules in force under Schedule 3 , and to the necessity of observing fair procedures, the panel may receive evidence given

(a) orally before the committee,

(b) by affidavit, or

(c) as otherwise allowed by those rules, including by means of a live video link, a video recording, a sound recording or any other mode of transmission.

(14) A panel shall, for the purpose of an inquiry under this section, have the powers, rights and privileges vested in the High Court or a judge thereof in respect of

(a) the enforcement of the attendance of witnesses and their examination on oath or otherwise, and

(b) the compelling of the production of documents,

and a summons signed by the chairperson of the panel or by such other member of the panel as may be authorised by the panel for that purpose may be substituted for and shall be equivalent to any formal procedure capable of being issued in an action for enforcing the attendance of witnesses and compelling the production of documents.

(15) For the purposes of an inquiry under this section, a panel may, in relation to a vetting disclosure, consider the information and submissions referred to in section 43A .

(16) A witness before a panel shall be entitled to the same immunities and privileges as if he or she were a witness before the High Court.

(17) Following the completion of an inquiry by a panel, the panel shall

(a) where it makes no finding against the registered teacher in respect of a complaint under any of paragraphs (a) to (h) of subsection (1) of section 42 , dismiss the complaint,

(b) where an inquiry is completed under subsection (7) or where the panel makes a finding or findings against the registered teacher in respect of a complaint under any of paragraphs (a) to (h) of subsection (1) of section 42 , make a report of the inquiry and shall specify in the report

(i) the nature of the complaint,

(ii) the evidence before the panel,

(iii) where an inquiry is completed under subsection (7) , the measures included in the undertaking or consent,

(iv) where it makes a finding or findings against the registered teacher in respect of a complaint under any of paragraphs (a) to (h) of subsection (1) of section 42 , the panel s finding or findings,

(v) where any finding in respect of the registered teacher is in the terms of section 42(1)(g), its consideration of whether that finding affects the fitness to teach of the registered teacher, and

(vi) any other matter in relation to the registered teacher which the panel considers appropriate,

(c) where it is satisfied, in respect of a complaint made under subsection (1D) of section 42 , having regard to the protection of children and vulnerable persons, that there is a risk that the teacher may harm any child or vulnerable person, cause any child or vulnerable person to be harmed, put any child or vulnerable person at risk of harm, attempt to harm any child or vulnerable person, or incite another person to harm any child or vulnerable person, make a report of the inquiry and shall specify in the report

(i) the nature of the information disclosed in the vetting disclosure giving rise to the complaint under that subsection,

(ii) the evidence laid before the panel,

(iii) its assessment of the risk concerned, and

(iv) its conclusion in respect of that risk,

or

(d) where it is not satisfied, in respect of a complaint made under subsection (1D) of section 42 , having regard to the protection of children and vulnerable persons, that there is a risk that the teacher may harm any child or vulnerable person, cause any child or vulnerable person to be harmed, put any child or vulnerable person at risk of harm, attempt to harm any child or vulnerable person, or incite another person to harm any child or vulnerable person, dismiss the complaint.

(18) Where the panel dismisses a complaint under subsection (17) , the panel shall, as soon as practicable, by notice in writing, inform

(a) the complainant,

(b) the registered teacher concerned and such other persons as the teacher may request, and

(c) where the teacher is employed as a teacher, his or her employer,

and shall, at the request of the registered teacher concerned, publish a notice to that effect in such form and manner as may be determined by the Council.

(19) In this section, document includes

(a) a book, record or other printed material,

(b) a photograph,

(c) any information stored, maintained or preserved by means of any mechanical or electronic device, whether or not stored, maintained or preserved in legible form, and

(d) any audio or video recording. ]

Annotations

Amendments:

F42

Substituted (25.07.2016) by Teaching Council (Amendment) Act 2015 (31/2015), s. 21, S.I. No. 408 of 2016.

Editorial Notes:

E39

Power pursuant to section exercised (25.07.2016) by Teaching Council (Disciplinary Committee Panel Procedures) Rules 2016 (S.I. No. 411 of 2016).