The VDA’s Charter of Member’s Rights in Veterinary Board Disciplinary Proceedings reads as follows:
VDA Members have the right:
- To be heard by a body that is independent of the Board; funded by the State.
- To have complaints against Members properly screened within 30 days of filing. Complaints in which the independent body does not have jurisdiction, or are frivolous, vexatious and groundless, to be dismissed without placing the Member on their defence.
- To be given a final list of concerns/allegations together with all the information in the possession of the Board supporting these allegations within 30 days of screening and before being placed on their defence.
- To be given full written reasons, justifying the independent disciplinary body’s actions in placing them on their defence within 30 days of screening.
- To be given a period of at least 60 days in which to prepare their first response.
- To attend an inquiry [an inquiry, not a hearing] conducted within 30 days by the independent body to determine whether the allegations can be sustained and whether the professional conduct, if proven, would justify disciplinary action.
- To be presented with properly formulated and sustainable charges within 5 days, that are based on written, codified, widely accepted minimum standards of care that the Member is alleged to have intentionally transgressed and are of sufficient gravity to justify sanction.
- To attend a hearing into the charges within 30 days, or in the case of an Administrative Court, as soon as possible.
- In jurisdictions where an Administrative Court does not hear the matter: To be heard by a disciplinary committee, chaired by an independent competent lawyer approved by the Member and the prosecutor, made up of members approved by the Member and the prosecutor.
- That all the relevant rules of court be applied to the entire disciplinary process. This includes, but is not limited to, being given notice of expert witnesses called by the prosecutor, being provided with the expert’s summary and being given the opportunity to consult with the expert.
- That guilt be determined by the standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’, not ‘on a balance of probabilities’.
- To be granted costs to be paid by the Board in the event that the prosecutor fails to prove the Member guilty of the charges.