Part 7, Section 27: Qualification for Tribunal

(a) No more than one person licensed with any firm, partnership, or corporation may serve on the same tribunal. This limitation does not preclude two or more individuals from the same franchise from serving if the franchises are independently owned and operated. (Revised 11/09)

(b) A person shall automatically be disqualified as a member of a tribunal in any case in which the person is (1) related by blood or marriage to either complainant or respondent; (2) an employer, partner, employee, or in any way associated in business with either complainant or respondent; (3) a party to the hearing, or a party or a witness in any other pending case involving a party to this hearing; or (4) is objected to by a party as provided in Part Seven, Section 27(f).

(c) Before sitting in any case, each member of a tribunal (except any member of the Grievance Committee) shall sign a statement (1) that the member is not disqualified for any of the foregoing reasons, and (2) that the member knows of no other reason that might prevent him from rendering an impartial decision. (Form #A-11, Certificate of Qualification, Part Thirteen of this Manual.)

(d) Every member of a tribunal (except a member of the Grievance Committee acting pursuant to the provisions of Part Ten, Section 47 of this Manual) shall also avoid, as far as possible, discussing the case with any person other than a member of the tribunal prior to commencement of the hearing. If the member does engage in any such discussion before the hearing, the member must disclose the fact to the parties and to the other members of the tribunal no later than at the beginning of the hearing.

(e) All members of a tribunal shall have an obligation to maintain and protect the confidentiality of the proceedings and deliberations of the tribunal before, during, and after its determinations and recommendations. The tribunal member shall not discuss the tribunal proceedings and deliberations with any person(s) except as required by the Board of Directors or the bylaw provisions of the Board, or by law as may be required, except that a member of the Grievance Committee acting pursuant to the provisions of Part Ten, Section 47 of this Manual shall not be precluded from discussion necessary to the preliminary review.

 Unauthorized disclosure relates to tribunal members and parties and includes any report or publication under any circumstances not established in this Manual. The following are circumstances where disclosure by a party to an ethics and/or arbitration proceeding is authorized:

(1) Where the dissemination of the decision to individuals who have some knowledge of the proceeding might vindicate a member’s professional reputation.

(2) Where there is a civil proceeding (including proceedings before the state real estate licensing authority or any other state or federal regulatory or administrative agency) involving the same facts and circumstances which gave rise to the proceeding before the Board. (Revised 11/95)

(3) Where providing the decision of an arbitration hearing panel to an association of Realtors® or to an MLS will enable that entity to correct records of sales or lease transactions or other historical records. (Revised 11/06)

(f)  Any party may file with the Professional Standards Administrator a written request for disqualification of a member of a tribunal (Hearing Panel or Board of Directors), stating the grounds alleged as basis for disqualification (i.e., factors which would prevent a tribunal member from rendering an impartial, unbiased, and knowledgeable decision). Challenges submitted pursuant to this Section for ethics and arbitration hearings will be determined by the Professional Standards Committee Chairperson, or, if challenge to the Chairperson is made, by the Professional Standards Committee Vice Chairperson, or, if challenge to both the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson is made, by the Board President. Challenges submitted pursuant to this Section for matters to be considered by the Board of Directors will be determined by the Board President or, if the challenge is to the Board President’s qualifications, the next ranking Board officer. A party shall be deemed to have waived any grounds of disqualification of which he then has knowledge unless he files the request within ten (10) days from the date a list of names of members of the Professional Standards Committee or Board of Directors has been transmitted to the party (see Part Ten, Section 51(a), Arbitration Hearing). However, any member of the tribunal may be disqualified at any time if a majority of the members of the tribunal are made aware of any grounds of automatic disqualification of a member or find any new or previously undiscovered facts which in their judgment may prevent, or appear to prevent, a member of a tribunal from rendering an impartial decision. (Revised 11/14)

However, none of the foregoing is to be construed to allow a challenge to the qualifications of members of a Board’s or State Association’s Grievance Committee, or Board of Directors (or panel of Directors or Executive Committee) convened to review any action taken by a Grievance Committee. (Revised 11/98)

(g) If a member of a tribunal fails or is unable to participate in a hearing, the remaining members of the tribunal may, at their option, but only with the express consent of the parties, proceed with the hearing. Only the remaining members of the tribunal may participate in the hearing and the determination thereof. Should any member of the tribunal absent himself during the progress of the actual hearing, that individual shall likewise not participate in the deliberations nor determinations thereof. If all the parties do not agree to proceeding without the full number of the tribunal originally designated, the Chairperson of the tribunal will recess the hearing to a date on which all members of the tribunal can be present. If the Chairperson cannot at that time designate a new date, notice of a subsequent date shall be served on all parties as herein provided.