20 SET 2012
Mr J McGeehan
Disciplinary Panel hearing - 19 September 2012
Mr Joseph McGeehan applies for readmission to RICS pursuant to Rule 46 of the Disciplinary, Registration and Appeal Panel Rules 2009 (“the Registration Rules”). The Panel heard directly from Mr McGeehan who attended the hearing and represented himself. The Panel also heard submissions from Mr Gutteridge, RICS’s solicitor. The application follows Mr McGeehan’s expulsion from RICS on 24 November 2004 for failure to conduct himself with professional propriety. A transcript of the Disciplinary Board hearing on that date appears at pages 29-37 of the hearing bundle.
Mr McGeehan explained in his letter to RICS dated 7 February 2012 that he was an active member of the Irish Auctioneers and Valuers Institute (IAVI) until IAVI merged with RICS on 31 March 2011. Mr McGeehan told the Panel that the majority IAVI members at this time in Northern Ireland had automatically became members of RICS. Due to his previous expulsion from RICS, Mr McGeehan was informed that he would need formally to reapply for membership of RICS. He believes that he is the only Northern Ireland member of IAVI who suffered as a direct result of the merger with RICS because he lost his status as a member of a professional surveying body without any wrongdoing on his part. He expressed the hope that the situation could be resolved before “it starts to have a detrimental impact on my business”.
Mr McGeehan applied for readmission on 2 November 2011. The criteria for admission or readmission to RICS are set out in its Bye-Law 2: specifically an applicant must be a person who is fit and proper to be admitted to RICS, and his readmission should be in the best interests of RICS.
The Registration Panel also considered the application in the light of the requirements of the Rules Setting out the Procedure for Re-admission to Membership following Disciplinary Expulsion 2009 (“the Readmission Rules”).
Rule 54 of the Registration Rules provides that the burden rests upon the applicant to satisfy the Registration Panel that his application for readmission should succeed. In determining this application, the Panel may have regard to all matters which it considers relevant to the criteria outlined above.
Since Mr McGeehan’s previous membership status of RICS was “Probationary”, RICS submitted that – should he satisfy the Panel that he is a fit and proper person, and that his readmission is in the best interests of RICS - his readmission can only be to the equivalent class that he held previously, namely as a trainee.
The Panel’s decision is as follows.
Mr McGeehan’s application was in writing and satisfied the other procedural requirements as set out in Rule 2 of the Readmission Rules.
In addition to oral presentations at the hearing, and Mr McGeehan’s answers to questions from the Panel and from Mr Gutteridge on behalf of RICS, the Panel had read the transcript of the 2004 Disciplinary Board hearing, and a written reference dated 27 February 2012 from Mr W, a member of RICS.
The Panel notes RICS does not dispute that Mr McGeehan has been practising for some ten years without any further disciplinary issues arising since the events which had given rise to his expulsion.
The Panel is therefore satisfied that Mr McGeehan has discharged the burden of proving that he is a fit and proper person to be readmitted to membership.
The Panel also took that view that, if readmitted, Mr McGeehan would be subject to RICS’ regulatory regime and that this would be in the best interests of RICS.
The Panel therefore decided to readmit Mr McGeehan in accordance with RICS Bye-Law B2.3.2.
In accordance with Rule 6 of the Readmission Rules, the Panel decided that Mr McGeehan should be readmitted as a trainee, being the nearest equivalent to the class of membership which Mr McGeehan held at the date of his expulsion, namely probationary.
While it is not for the Panel to determine the Assessment of Professional Competence process which (as a trainee) Mr McGeehan should hereafter follow, the Panel encourages Mr McGeehan and RICS to explore the appropriate route to full membership bearing in mind his years of professional experience.
Determination on Publication and Costs
The Panel orders publication of this decision in full on the RICS website in accordance with Supplement 3 to the RICS Sanctions Policy (Publication of Regulatory/Disciplinary Matters).
The Panel makes no order as to costs.
Mr McGeehan has 28 days to appeal this decision in accordance with Rules 59 and 61 of Registration Rules.