AN INDEPENDENT tribunal is to be set up for ICE members to appeal against Professional Review failures and the outcomes of disciplinary hearings.
The tribunal, to be run by the Construction Industry Council (CIC), was approved by ICE Council this week. It ensures that the ICE's disciplinary and admissions procedures comply with the Human Rights Act (HRA) 1998.
The HRA incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law, which makes it unlawful for a 'public authority' to act in a way that is incompatible with a right conferred by the European Convention on Human Rights.
Article Six of these rights provides for the right to a 'fair and public hearing' for a person in 'the determination of his civil rights and obligations'. Civil rights have been held to include the right to engage in commercial or professional activities.
The exact position of the ICE within these requirements is unclear, and will only be clarified if the ruling is tested in the courts. However, it is possible that to be refused either admission or re-admission to any grade of membership of a professional body could be deemed to affect the rights of the person concerned.
The ICE already has a procedure in place to deal with appeals over refused admission to membership. However, this is unlikely to satisfy the requirements of the Convention which states that any public hearing should be 'by an independent and impartial tribunal'.
The CIC tribunal will not set aside the decision of the Institution, but will reach a verdict either to uphold the decision or to refer the application for membership back to the ICE to reconsider.