International Professional Dispute Resolution Advocates Association Membership Rules
The following rules apply to all classes of members and all categories of members at the International Professional Dispute Resolution Advocates Association, these members include:
- Professional Business Negotiator (PBN)
- Chartered International Business Negotiator (CIBN)
- Certified Professional Wealth Manager (CPWM)
- Certified Senior International Wealth Manager (CSIWM)
- Accredited International Intellectual Property Consultant (AIIPC)
- International Professional Dispute Resolution Accredited Advocate (IPDRAA)
- Associate Member (AIPDRAA)
- Honorary Fellow (FIPDRAA (Hon))
Chapter I INTRODUCTION
1.1 This document sets out the Membership Rules (“the Rules”) of the International Professional Dispute Resolution Advocate Association (the “Association”). The Rules and regulations shall apply to all classes of members of the Association (“members”).
1.2 The rules regarding the respective rights, privileges, and obligations of members. The Association reserves the right to make amendments to the Rules from time to time at its absolute discretion, without giving any prior notice to members or any party or obtaining their prior consent. The power of interpretation of the Rules shall be vested in the Board whose interpretation shall be final and conclusive.
2. Membership Standards
2.1 The Association is concerned with the setting, raising and promoting standards through examinations and qualifications, learning and professional development programmes and membership community.
2.2 In consideration of the Association vetting an application and (where applicable) accepting an applicant as a member, each applicant agrees to comply with the terms of the Rules, which contain the entire agreement between the Association and such parties with respect to the subject matter. As a condition of membership, members agree to abide by the Rules and regulations decided by the Association, decisions of the Board and the delegated committees, irrespective of how such committees are designated.
2.3 Any material modification to the Rules shall be posted on the Association’s website, and members should refer to the Association’s website for details on a regular basis. If a member does not agree with the amended Rules, he or she may resign from membership in accordance with Clause 14.2 of the Rules. A member’s continued membership will signify his or her acceptance of these changes.
3. Member’s Professional Code
Members must at all times:
- act in their client’s interest in the first priority.
- disclose any material interest or conflict of interest to their clients.
- take all reasonable steps to ensure fair treatment of their clients.
- act in good faith and exercise independence in making the professional judgment.
- perform their works in accordance with the current best industry practice and the highest ethical, professional and technical standards.
- ensure that they are competent to perform the duties that their profession requires.
- provide assistance or mentorship to young practitioners and give proper supervision and guidance to them whenever appropriate.
- obey all applicable laws and regulations of the place where they practice, also all rules and regulations enforced by the competent authorities.
- not engage in any illegal, misleading or dishonest behavior that might jeopardize their reputation as members or bring the Association or its other Members into disrepute.
- compile with the Rules and regulations of the Association and the disciplinary proceedings which will be updated from time to time.
Chapter II MEMBERSHIP
4. Classes of Membership and categories of Membership at "Membership Fee" are subjected to review from time to time.
5.1 An applicant must file an application form for admission to the respective classes of Membership and categories of Membership.
5.2 All sections of the application form must be fully and accurately completed. An application form must be accompanied by payment of an appropriate fee where required.
5.3 All membership applications will be submitted to the Association for approval. The decision of the Association is final, conclusive and binding on all parties.
5.4 Applicants who are refused membership, or withdraw their applications, are entitled to a refund of the joining fee and annual fee if such fees have been paid. However, a non-refundable administrative fee will be charged for all applications.
6.1 A member will receive a membership certificate and a membership card upon admission. For the avoidance of doubt, the membership certificate is property belonged to the Association and the Association has the right to demand the return of the said documents from time to time. Subject to Clause 18.1, a member is entitled to hold the said documents as long as he or she remains a member and duly pays his or her annual subscription fees.
6.2 Different classes of members and categories of member enjoy different membership rights, benefits and privileges, which include: the use of the Association’s professional membership designation and certificate and other items of a similar nature, discounts on membership services and the receiving of education materials, programme updates, Association information, and documentation. These may be varied from time to time without prior notice given to the members. Members should refer to the Association’s website regularly for the latest updates.
7.1 The joining fees, progression fees and annual fees for different classes of individual membership are outlined in "Membership Fee". The Association will take appropriate action against members who fail to pay their membership fees on time. A maximum of the two-month grace period may be allowed during which members, who have not paid their membership fees, may still remain as members and may renew their membership by settling the overdue membership fee within the grace period. Membership will be automatically terminated following the conclusion of the grace period, after which the membership will lapse and all membership rights, benefits, and privileges will be withdrawn. These include, but are not limited to the use of the Association’s professional membership designation and other items of a similar nature, discounts on membership services and the receiving of education materials, programme updates, Association information, and documentation. To re-apply for membership, it will be necessary for an ex-member, whose membership has been terminated, to re-submit an application and fulfill the membership requirements current at the time of re-application. If for any reason the Association decides to reinstate a member following the termination of its / his / her membership, then such reinstatement will be on the terms notified by the Association, and will include at a minimum that the member pays any fees that were outstanding as at the time of membership termination. The Association has the full discretion may refuse to approve an applicant.
7.2 The decision of the Association in refusing to approve an applicant is final, conclusive and binding on all parties and the Association is not obliged to explain or justify any such decision.
7.3 The Association may, at its absolute discretion, decide that an applicant who fails, on any ground, to become a member of any class. The Association may direct that the applicant be advised of this, so that the applicant has the opportunity to amend his or her application rather than being refused membership.
8.1 A member who wishes to resign from the Association must notify the Association in writing no less than 30 calendar days before the effective date of resignation; and unless the Association does not accept the resignation, such resignation shall take effect on expiry of the 30 calendar days’ notice period following receipt by the Association or the actual effective date of resignation, whichever is later.
9. Verification of Information
9.1 Each applicant or member agrees to permit the Association to approach and contact all relevant bodies and their personnel department to verify and check the truth and accuracy of the information submitted by such applicant or member. The provision of untrue or incorrect information to the Association may result in an application being refused or disciplinary action being taken against the relevant member under Section.
10. Update Information
10.1 Members must advise the Association of any matters which may have a bearing on their suitability to remain as members of the Association. Members shall consult the Association in case of doubt. Members must promptly advise the Association of changes of any personal information they have submitted to the Association in connection with their application or at any other time, including without limitation any changes to their contact information, correspondence addresses and/or employment information. Each member warrants and represents that all information it / he / she provides to the Association is at all times true, accurate and not misleading.
11. Important Changes
11.1 Any changes in circumstances or the occurrence of events that may affect a member’s suitability to remain a member, however trivial they may appear to the member, must be reported in writing, except where such disclosure is prohibited by law, and in confidence for the attention of the Association as soon as the member becomes aware of such changes in circumstances or the occurrence of events. The Association’s power to take disciplinary actions against members is derived from the Rules and regulations, and the Association will decide whether the information, if known at the time of the member’s application of admission to the Association, would have affected the outcome of the application. Depending on the Association’s decision, the appropriate procedures set out in Clause 12 may be activated.
11.2 Disciplinary matters affecting a member’s suitability to remain a member that must be reported under this Section include but are not limited to the following, except where such disclosure is prohibited by law: a. the issue of any warrant of arrest, the laying of any charge by any enforcement body of the Government or commencement of any criminal proceedings; or b. any punishment or reprimand imposed by any regulatory body, whether or not publicly announced.
11.3 Consequences of Failure of Reporting Failure to report a matter that could affect a member’s suitability to remain on the Association’s roll of members will, in itself, be regarded as a serious breach of the Rules and could lead to disciplinary action taken by the Association against the member.
Chapter III PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT AND DISCIPLINE
12. Authority to Discipline
12.1 The Association’s authority to discipline members derives from the members’ agreement, at the time of making their membership applications, to be bound by the Rules, for as long as they are members of the Association. These documents detail the minimum standards of behaviour expected from members at all times.
12.2 The power to discipline members rests with the Association, which may delegate responsibility for disciplinary matters to the Discipline Committee.
13.1 The Association may gather or receive information about its members, from the public domain and from other sources including reports made by members, and will pass on the information to the Committee for action as stated below.
13.2 After examination of the information, the Committee may determine:
- not to take any action; or
- to take action as outlined in Clause 13.3
13.3 Depending on the gravity of an individual case, the Association / Committee may, at its discretion, take one or more forms of action as outlined below:
- Reminder: For cases that are likely to cause damage to the Association’s reputation or that of the financial services industry, a written notice stating the importance of professional conduct may be issued to the member concerned. In addition, the member concerned may be encouraged to complete certain continuing education or other remedial programmes.
- Suspension of membership:
- A member will be informed of the membership suspension decision in writing if the member’s conduct has led to the suspension of its / his / her professional qualification, or any other acts or omissions on the part of the member that the Association considers sufficient for suspension action to be taken without further investigation.
- The period of suspension may correspond to, or be less than the suspension period of its / his / her membership by the relevant authority; in the latter case, the period will be of such duration as the Association deems appropriate. During the membership suspension period, the member’s right to use the Association membership designations, to apply for renewal and to apply for progression will be withdrawn.
- Suspended members are not allowed to attend the annual general meeting or other general meetings, and will not be permitted to vote.
- Following the expiration of the suspension period, the member concerned will need to file a written request for membership reinstatement. The reinstatement is subject to the Association’s approval and the settlement of all dues by the member.
- Termination from membership
- The Association may decide at its absolute discretion, based on such information as is available to it, to expel a member from the Association.
- A member who is expelled from the Association will be informed of the decision in writing including the period of time, if any, which must elapse before it/he/she may re-apply for membership. This would normally be more than four years from the date of termination.
14.1 The Secretariat will report disciplinary cases, if any to the Association. The Association will review the case details and consider appropriate action as outlined in 20.3. The Secretariat will inform the member concerned in writing about the decision of the Association.
14.2 If the Association decides to gather additional information from the member concerned, the Secretariat will invite the member concerned to make full disclosure, in writing, within a specified period (not less than 14 calendar days), of all pertinent facts and to submit any relevant documents for consideration by the Association.
14.3 The Association is not a judicial body, and its proceedings are not those of a court of law. The Association will arrive at a finding by the application of common sense and professional judgment, fairly, to the known facts, taking into account the Rules and regulations.
14.4 The Association will issue its findings within 28 calendar days upon completing its deliberations. It will find either that the information laid before the Association does not impugn the professional integrity and good character of the member or the reputation of the Association, and/or the industry or, it will find that the information laid before it does impugn the professional integrity and good character of the member or the reputation of the Association and/or the industry and that action must therefore be taken to protect that reputation.
15.1 A member, who has been informed that a case against it or him or her has been laid before the Association, does not have the right to resign from the Association during the period of the disciplinary proceedings, but it or he or she may offer to resign and the Association will consider whether it is appropriate that it or he or she should do so. If the member is permitted to resign then it will be classified as a disciplinary resignation, and the decision to resign will be irrevocable.
15.2 The member will only be considered for re-admission after four years have passed since its / his / her date of resignation, except for serious criminal offenses, as interpreted by the Association in its absolute discretion; in such cases, the Association may refuse re-admission at its discretion.
15.3 For the avoidance of doubt, the Association may, in its absolute discretion, refuse to accept a notice of resignation given by a member (or reject such a notice after it has been served but prior to its taking effect) if it considers that any matter affecting such a member should be investigated before a decision may be reached on the question of whether the member should be expelled or otherwise disciplined or for any other reason.
Chapter IV APPEALS
16.1 This appeal procedure may only be used for appeals against disciplinary decisions made by the Association.
16.2 All appeals will be made to the Association. The final decision rests with the Association.
16.3 Timing and Content of Appeal
16.3.1 If a member wishes to appeal against any disciplinary decision, then a written appeal must be lodged with the Chief Executive Officer of the Association within 28 calendar days of the date of the letter notifying the member of the decision.
16.4 The grounds for appeal may be any one or more of the following:
- the decision was not supported by the evidence or was against the weight of the evidence;
- the penalty imposed was excessive;
- a member concerned may also appeal on the grounds that new evidence is available and that, had it been adduced, the Association might reasonably have come to a different decision. This will not apply if the member could have presented the evidence by the exercise of reasonable diligence during, or at the time of, the disciplinary proceedings.
16.5 The written appeal must state:
- the grounds of appeal: it will not be sufficient for the member to merely object to the penalty imposed; and
- the outcome of the appeal which the appellant desires or thinks is reasonable in the circumstances; and
- the names of any persons who will support the member in its or his or her appeal; and
- any new or additional material which has a bearing on the case and which the Committee did not see, together with an explanation of why the material was not made available.
16.6 In the course of its proceedings, the member concerned shall attend in person at the disciplinary proceeding and not be accompanied by a legal advisor / representative.
17.1 Where an appeal is decided by the Chief Executive Officer then the options are as follows:
- it may reject the appeal;
- it may substitute a lesser or a greater punishment for the one awarded by the Committee.
17.2 The findings of the Chief Executive Officer shall be final and conclusive and will be communicated to the appellant in writing, and without explanation. No further correspondences will be entered into.
Chapter V CEASING TO BE A MEMBER
18.1 Following the effective date of resignation or termination, a member shall cease to hold itself or himself or herself out as such and shall immediately remove all references to being a member of the Association from their business stationery, documents, websites, notepaper and company name, and details, etc.
18.2 Membership of the Association shall not be transferable and a member shall cease to be a member of the Association:
- if it / he / she resigns its / his / her membership by giving not less than 30 calendar days’ notice in writing to the Association (Subject to Clause 8.1); or
- if he or she becomes bankrupt or dies; or
- (in the case of a corporate member) it becomes insolvent or is the subject of winding up proceedings; or
- in such other circumstances as may from time to time be specified in the Rules but this shall be without prejudice to any continuing obligation applicable to it or him or her under the Rules.
18.3 Every member undertakes to contribute such amount as may be required (not exceeding HK$100) to the Association’s assets if it should be wound up while it / he / she is a member or within one year after it / he / she ceases to be a member, for payment of the Association’s debts and liabilities contracted before it / he / she ceases to be a member, and of the costs, charges and expenses of winding up, and for the adjustment of the rights of the contributories among themselves.
18.4 All amounts due and payable under the Rules shall accrue interest if unpaid at the expiration of one month commencing on the due date for payment at such rate (including a floating rate) as the Association may specify from time to time.
18.5 In the event that a member resigns or his / her / its membership is otherwise terminated:
- that shall not in any way impair any liability (including any prospective or contingent liability) to the Association to which it / he / she was subject to before it / he / she resigned or its/his/her membership terminated; and
- the member shall not be entitled to refund and/or receive back (in whole or in part) any amounts previously paid by him / her / it to the Association or, by virtue of any action taken by the Association under the Rules, to any other person.
Chapter VI MISCELLANEOUS
19.1 To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Association’s total liability to a member under or in connection with the Rules or their membership of the Association on any basis for all claims (whether under contract or tort or otherwise) shall be limited to the aggregate of the annual sums that have been paid by the member to the Association.
19.2 No waiver by the Association of its rights, or the application of the Rules, in any one case in relation to a member shall excuse the member from complying with all of its / his / her other obligations (including those of a similar nature to those which may have been waived) and the Association’s failure to insist upon compliance with any obligation or any of the Rules shall not prevent it from insisting on such compliance at a later date.
19.3 If anyone, or part, of the Rules, is declared invalid or illegal by a court or authority of competent jurisdiction then that one, or part, Rule shall be severed from the Rules, without affecting the enforceability of the Rules which remain. Where a Rule or part of a Rule is held invalid or unenforceable then the parties agree that the Association shall have the right to replace it with a Rule which, in its reasonable opinion meets the same commercial objectives.