Before the Hearing
The chairperson of the panel takes the following actions:
Arranges a date, time and place for the hearing, in consultation with the complainant and the respondent and sends the confirmed details to both parties by registered post.
Invites the complainant and the respondent to nominate, in writing, any witnesses or representatives whom they wish to attend the hearing. A list of all witnesses or representatives will be sent to both parties. The chairperson may, at his or her discretion, call expert witnesses to assist the work of the panel.
Sends all written evidence and submissions to the complainant, the respondent and members of the panel before the hearing date by registered post.
During the Hearing
The hearing aims to examine the complaint in order to establish the facts of the case and decide whether the respondent has behaved unprofessionally. The panel makes its decision after examining all documents and listening carefully to both parties and to any witnesses, representatives or expert witnesses. The hearing proceeds as follows:
The chairperson introduces the procedure and asks the complainant or the complainant's nominated representative to outline the complaint.
The respondent or the respondent's nominated representative may question the complainant and any of the witnesses. The panel members may also ask questions.
The complainant or the complainant's nominated representative may question the respondent and any of the witnesses. The panel members may also ask questions.
The complainant, the respondent and the panel members may question any expert witness who has been called by the chairperson.
When the hearing is over, the panel adjourns the case to make a decision.
After the Hearing
The panel takes the following steps:
The respondent will be exonerated if the panel decides that the complaint is not sustained.
If the respondent is found in breach of professional misconduct , the panel recommends sanctions to be implemented by the HKADCP Board. The respondent may, for example:
a. be reprimanded.
b. be required to give undertakings about future conduct.
c. be suspended or expelled from the HKADCP membership.
d. be suspended or expelled from the HKADCP's Register of Psychologists.
e. be given other forms of sanction which the panel deems appropriate.
If the respondent is found in breach of SERIOUS professional misconduct, the decision of the panel is published in the HKADCP website.
The panel will inform the complainant and respondent about its decision and the reasons for the decision in writing.
HKADCP's duty to investigate a complaint
It is the duty of HKADCP to investigate any formal complaint against its members. Subject to the discretion of the panel, a hearing can go ahead, even if one party or witness has decided not to participate any further, or failed to appear at the hearing on the day.
The hearing could take one or several days, depending on the nature and complexity of the complaint.
Both the complainant and the respondent are entitled to have representation to speak on their behalf in the hearing. The nominated representative may be a legal or civilian representative. For an appointed civilian representative, he/she must be a qualified psychologist. If either part wants to appoint a legal representative for the hearing, proper written notice must be given to the hearing panel and the opposite party at least 7 working days before the hearing date for their necessary arrangement as appropriate.
Complaints to HKADCP and legal action
An investigation into a complaint is separate from and does not substitute for legal action. The lodging of a complaint to HKADCP does not affect the complainant's right to take legal action against the respondent involved.
HKADCP does not investigate complaints related to cases that have come before the courts, or any other legal proceedings. All ongoing legal proceedings or hearing related to the subject complaint take precedence.
Formal Complaint against a psychologist of the Association
The rules governing a panel hearing for a complaint are laid down in the Bylaws and Code of Ethics of HKADCP. The HKADCP Ethic Sub‐committee takes charge of the panel hearing.The Ethic Sub‐committee nominates a panel of three persons and informs the complainant and the respondent that a hearing will take place.The chairperson of the panel is always a psychologist. He/she is given all relevant information and documentation and has responsibility for setting up and conducting the hearing.