Foundations laid for possible ACCA reinstatement


14th June 2021

Evidence provided during a disciplinary committee hearing could pave the way for potential ACCA reinstatement to the Student Register. We look at the details of the case here.

The case

HV was a student of the ACCA whom we represented before the tribunal.

There was one complaint, namely that in January 2020, HV had submitted an examination result purporting to be from the ACCA and addressed to a training company, knowing it to be false, so that he would be eligible to take a course again at no extra cost, when he knew he was not eligible. The allegation was that HV had been dishonest.

The background was that the training company had raised concerns with the ACCA over information that HV had supplied to them as it did not match the ACCA’s results service with regard to an examination which had taken place during early December 2019. HV had advised the training company that he had failed the exam with a score of 48. However, the ACCA’s results service showed that HV had not sat the exam at that time.

Prior to the examination, HV had had various issues including pressure in preparing for the exam, work commitments, supporting his family and being a full-time carer for his father. Also, prior to the exam, HV had registered with the training company and had attended courses. He had been unable to attend the examination for medical reasons and had submitted a medical certificate to the ACCA following the exam. He asked that the fees be credited as he wished to retake the exam the following March.

In January, he had advised the training company that he had been very close to the pass mark and wanted to resit the exam in March. The training company had asked for the examination result. HV had produced a screenshot, purportedly from the ACCA which he accepted was false and which had been prepared by him. It was his belief that the training company offered students a discounted fee for the revision course in respect of those students who had failed an exam and that to qualify, the score had to be between 40% and 50%. He wrongly believed that he would be ineligible to sit the exam again if there were medical reasons why he had not sat it.

HV submitted, in private, an explanation for his conduct in January 2020 and maintained that he was now fully recovered, that he had been in probationary employment up to the month before the hearing and fully apologised for his conduct. Various documents were submitted, namely medical evidence and references.

HV admitted the complaints and the tribunal concluded that he was guilty of misconduct.

Although the Committee decided that there were a number of aggravating features, it also accepted that there were mitigating factors, namely:-

  • HV had made an early and full admission.
  • He was of previous good character.
  • There had been personal issues.
  • There had been no recurrence of the behaviour since January 2020.
  • There were testimonials and a positive historic reference from a former employer.
  • There was genuine regret expressed.

The Committee did not accept that taking no further action or imposing an admonition or reprimand were appropriate. It considered whether to impose a severe reprimand but concluded that this was not a sufficient sanction to mark the gravity of HV’s behaviour. It concluded that HV should be removed from the Student Register.

The ACCA sought costs in the sum of £6,598. The Committee noted that HV was a student and currently unemployed. He lived with his parents and had limited means. It concluded that it would be appropriate to order HV to pay £5,000 towards the ACCA’s costs.

The order was to take effect from the expiry of the appeal period.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the chairman indicated, off the record, that the tribunal did not consider that this was a case where the student should be permanently removed from the Register. There was a suggestion that an application for ACCA reinstatement to the Register might, in due course, receive favourable consideration.

Conclusion

In conclusion, although the order of the Committee was disappointing, in the circumstances, it was neither unexpected nor inappropriate. Nevertheless, the evidence put before the tribunal was not a wasted effort. That evidence can and will be considered, in due course, by the Admissions and Licensing Committee, when it considers an application from HV to be restored to the Student Register. The off-the-record comments made by the chairman were very helpful and it remains to be seen if and when HV will be restored to the Register to enable him to pass the remaining examinations and apply to become a member of the ACCA. Although not a successful outcome, by representing HV we have laid the ground for possible ACCA reinstatement in due course.

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