Hearings are conducted before Hearing Panels, which are comprised of two industry representatives and a member of the public who acts as Chair. The public member is not associated with any investment dealer and has legal training, usually as an experienced securities lawyer or retired judge. All hearings that take place before Hearing Panels are formal and resemble proceedings that take place before a judge in a courtroom.
Even though the Hearing Panel has the right to close a hearing, most are open to the public with the exception of Settlement Hearings, although they are usually immediately opened to the public once the panel accepts the settlement.
At all of these hearings, IIROC is represented by Enforcement counsel. In many cases the respondent will retain a lawyer either during the course of the investigation or at the hearing stage.
Enforcement counsel cannot provide legal advice to a respondent who does not have a lawyer, nor can Enforcement counsel provide advice as to whether the respondent should retain counsel. Where possible, respondents often find that retaining a lawyer is of considerable assistance.
There are the three types of hearings:
Enforcement counsel must prove the allegations contained in the Notice of Hearing by presenting evidence including calling witnesses. The respondents may challenge IIROC's case by cross examining witnesses and calling their own evidence.
Settlement Hearings are held when the parties are able to negotiate a settlement before the hearing. The settlement agreement contains the rules violations and underlying facts admitted to by the respondent and the penalties agreed upon by the two parties. The parties must present the agreement to the Hearing Panel and explain why the panel should accept it. The panel may accept or reject the settlement agreement.
Expedited Hearings are different from other kinds of hearings in several ways:
- Expedited Hearings are commenced by a Notice of Application, not a Notice of Hearing.
- The respondent is not usually given notice of the Hearing and is therefore not usually in attendance at the Hearing; and
- Any order that the Hearing Panel may make is usually temporary and is meant to address acute or serious risks that need immediate attention.
If the Hearing Panel makes an Order at an Expedited Hearing, IIROC must serve the respondent with a copy of the Application Record and the Hearing Panel's Order as soon as possible, and the respondent has a right to request an immediate review of the decision.