1. Establishment and role of the Appeals Body
1.1 The Appeals Body has been established by the QFC Law for the purpose of hearing appeals by entities, individuals and corporate bodies against the decisions of the Regulatory Authority.
1.2 The Appeals Body can prepare and submit to the Minister for consideration such Regulations (or amendments, modifications to or repeal of existing Regulations) as it shall deem appropriate to achieve its objectives or to aid it to implement, carry out and enforce its powers and functions from time to time.
1.3 The Appeals Body is the only body with the jurisdiction to hear appeals against decisions made by the Regulatory Authority and its decision is final and binding on all the parties and shall not be subject to further appeal.
1.4 The Appeals Body has capacity to enter into contracts, to sue and to be sued and to own and lease assets of all types for the purpose of achieving its objectives.
2. Constitution of the Appeals Body
2.1 When hearing an appeal, the Appeals Body shall comprise a Chairman and two additional members.
2.2 The Chairman and the Appeals Members are to be appointed by a decision of the Council of Ministers appointed in accordance with the QFC Law. The Council of Ministers shall determine the terms and conditions of appointment of the Chairman and Appeals Members.
2.3 The Appeals Members shall be of good character and not less than thirty years of age and shall have legal knowledge and experience.
2.4 Each Appeals Member shall be appointed for a term of five years.
2.5 No member of the Appeals Body may be a member of the Board or of the Regulatory Authority or be employed by the QFC Authority or the Regulatory Authority. Any member of the Appeals Body who becomes such a member or so employed shall automatically thereupon cease to be a member of the Appeals Body.
2.6 Any member of the Appeals Body may at any time resign his office by giving not less than thirty days' notice to the Regulatory Authority addressed to the Chairman.
2.7 An Appeals Member
may be removed by a decision of the Council of Ministers
(1) he has become incapable through ill-health of effectively performing the duties of his office;
(2) he is declared bankrupt; or
(3) he is convicted of a criminal offence or the Council of Ministers is satisfied that he has been guilty of serious misconduct which, in either case, in the opinion of the Council of Ministers, is of a nature which warrants his removal from office.
2.8 The Appeals Members shall be independent in the performance of their duties and neither the State, the Council of Ministers, the Chairman, the QFC Authority, the Regulatory Authority nor any other person shall intervene in the course of their decisions.
3. The Registry
3.1 The Appeals Body
(1) A Registry, at a location to be determined by the Chairman, to handle the processing of appeals, the management of the Appeals Body and its timetable.
(2) A Registrar appointed by the Chairman.
3.2 The Registrar shall hold office on such terms and conditions, as are determined and published by the Chairman.
3.3 The Chairman may appoint such other officers as are necessary for the fulfilment of the duties of the Appeals Body.
4. Jurisdiction of the Appeals Body
4.1 The Appeals Body shall hear appeals by entities, individuals and corporate bodies against such decisions of the Regulatory Authority as are set out below.
4.2 A Person may appeal to the Appeals Body only where it has jurisdiction to hear and determine the appeal under this paragraph.
4.3 The Appeals Body shall not be bound to follow its previous decisions although they shall be of persuasive authority.
4.4 The Appeals Body
has jurisdiction to hear and determine any appeal in relation to:
(1) those matters stated in these Regulations to be subject to such appeal; and
(2) such other jurisdiction as may be conferred by or under any other law or Regulation.
5. Proceedings of the Appeals Body
5.1 Subject to the QFC Law and these Regulations, the Appeals Body may make such rules as appear to it to be necessary or expedient in respect of the conduct of proceedings before it.
5.2 Appeals shall be governed by these Regulations and any rules published pursuant to this Regulation.
5.3 Proceedings and decisions of the Appeals Body shall be heard and given in private unless the Appeals Body hearing an appeal orders otherwise.
5.4 A decision of the Appeals Body shall be final and binding on the parties and shall not be subject to further appeal.
5.5 An appeal to the Appeals Body
must be made before the end of:
(1) such reasonable period as is set out in the relevant Decision Notice issued by the Regulatory Authority; or
(2) such other longer period as the Appeals Body may allow.
5.6 A Person
shall commence an Appeal by filing with the Registry to the Appeals Body
a written notice setting out the nature of the appeal and including information as to:
(1) the full name, description and address of the applicant;
(2) a description of the nature and circumstances of the matter giving rise to the appeal;
(3) the basis for the Appeal Body's jurisdiction;
(4) a statement of the relief sought; and
(5) such other information as is relevant to the Appeal.
5.7 The Appeal proceedings will commence when the written notice under this paragraph is received by the Registry.
5.8 Upon the Chairman of the Appeals Body receiving notice of an appeal falling within its jurisdiction, the Chairman shall convene the Appeals Body to hear and determine the appeal and shall notify the appellant and any other interested party of when and where the appeal will be heard.
6. Powers of the Appeals Body
6.1 When hearing and determining an appeal, the Appeals Body
(1) consider any evidence relating to the subject matter of the appeal, whether or not such evidence was available to the Regulatory Authority at the material time;
(2) receive and consider any material by way of oral evidence, written statements or documents, even if such material may not be admissible in evidence in civil or criminal proceedings in a court of law;
(3) determine the manner in which such material is received;
(4) by notice in writing require a Person to attend before it at any sitting and to give evidence and produce any item, record or document in his possession relating to the subject matter of the appeal;
(5) examine or cause to be examined on oath or otherwise a Person attending before it and require the Person to answer truthfully any question which the Appeals Body considers appropriate for the purposes of the proceedings;
(6) administer oaths;
(7) order a Person not to publish or otherwise disclose any material disclosed by any Person to the Appeals Body; or
(8) exercise such other powers or make such other orders as may be necessary for or ancillary to the conduct of the appeal or the performance of its function.
6.2 At the conclusion of an appeal, the Appeals Body
(1) determine what, if any, is the appropriate action for the Regulatory Authority to take in relation to the matter;
(2) remit the matter to the Regulatory Authority with such directions (if any) as the Appeals Body considers appropriate for giving effect to its determination, save that such directions may not require the Regulatory Authority to take any step which it would not otherwise have power to take; and
(3) make an order requiring a party to the appeal to pay a specified amount, being all or part of the costs of the appeal, including those of any party to the appeal. Such costs may be recovered from the recipient of the order as a debt due to the party which incurred the costs.
6.3 The Regulatory Authority must act in accordance with the determination of, and any direction given by, the Appeals Body.
6.4 A certificate signed by the Chairman
or proper officer of the Appeals Body
which states that the Appeals Body
made a specified determination or made a specified finding of fact on a specified day, is in any proceedings before the Tribunal
, where relevant:
(1) exclusive evidence of the determination of the Appeals Body made on that day; and
(2) evidence of the relevant finding of fact.
6.5 The Appeals Body may, on determining a reference, make recommendations as to the Regulatory Authority's procedures.
6.6 The Appeals Body may stay the decision of the Regulatory Authority to which the appeal relates and any related steps proposed to be taken by the Regulatory Authority until the Appeal has been determined.
6.7 An order of the Appeals Body shall be enforceable as if it were an order of the Tribunal.
7. Funding and Budget
The Appeals Body shall prepare a budget for its activities in respect of each financial year and shall submit the budget to the Minister for approval by the Council of Ministers.
Subject to the Appeals Body having complied with its obligations under paragraph 7.1 above, the State shall provide funding directly to the Appeals Body. The Council of Ministers may direct the QFC Authority to provide funding out of its budget to the Appeals Body and to provide support services provided it is satisfied that such arrangements will not compromise the independence of the Appeals Body.
7.3 Powers to raise revenues
The Appeals Body
shall be permitted to raise revenue to fund and finance its activities pursuant to or contemplated by the QFC Law
or this Regulation
in such ways as it deems appropriate including (without limitation) by:
(1) such fees and charges in respect of the performance and exercise of its duties, functions and powers as the Appeals Body may from time to time prescribe; and
(2) such other sources of revenues as may be provided for in the QFC Law, these Regulations or in other Regulations.
7.4 Treatment of Surpluses
(1) Any surpluses of income over expenditure (whether budgeted for or not) realised by the Appeals Body may be retained by it, or returned to the State, as the Appeals Body shall decide. Any such surpluses may also be applied to the repayment of any indebtedness incurred by the Appeals Body or to the creation of a general reserve and such other reserves as the members of the Appeals Body may reasonably think fit.
(2) The Appeals Body may invest its financial resources which are not immediately required in accordance with an investment policy approved in advance by the members of the Appeals Body.
8. Accounting Requirements
8.1 Financial Year
The financial year of the Appeals Body shall commence on the first day of January and end on the last day of December each year, save that the first financial year shall commence on the date on which the QFC Law came into force and shall end on the last day of December of the following year.
The Appeals Body shall keep accounting records which are sufficient to show and explain its transactions and are such as to disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time its income and expenditure and assets and liabilities and financial position. As soon as reasonably practicable after the end of each financial year, the Appeals Body shall prepare accounts in accordance with internationally accepted accounting principles.
8.3 Audit Requirement
(1) The annual accounts of the Appeals Body shall be audited by independent auditors, being a firm of chartered accountants with an office in the State. The auditors shall report as to whether the relevant accounts show a true and fair view of the financial affairs of the body in question during the financial year in question and its assets and liabilities at the end of the year in question. The auditors shall report on such other matters as they may consider appropriate.
(2) The Appeals Body shall as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of each financial year send to the Council of Ministers a copy of its audited accounts and a report of its activities and when required such further reports as the Council of Ministers may require.
(3) The auditors shall have right of access at all reasonable times to all information held or controlled by the Appeals Body, the Chairman and Appeals Members or any of the officers, employees, agents or contractors of the Appeals Body reasonably required by the auditors for the purposes of preparing the report.
(4) The Appeals Body, the Chairman and Appeals Members and the officers, employees, agents and contractors of the Appeals Body shall co-operate with the auditors in the performance of their duties under this Schedule and shall provide the auditors with such information and explanation as the auditors shall reasonably consider necessary.
8.4 State Audit Bureau
Appeals Body shall be exempt from the control of the State audit bureau.
9.1 Liability of the Appeals Body
(1) The Appeals Body shall be responsible for any obligations or liabilities arising out of the conduct of its activities (subject to the immunity set out in paragraph 9.1(2)) and the State shall have no liability for its acts or omissions.
(2) Subject to paragraph 9.1(3) the Appeals Body, and all members of the Appeals Body or employees of, or Persons acting under the direction of, the Appeals Body, shall incur no civil liability in relation to acts or omissions done or omitted to be done in good faith in carrying out or purporting to carry out their respective powers, duties or functions under or pursuant to the QFC Law or Regulations.
(3) Neither the Appeals Body nor any members or officers of the Appeals Body are relieved from civil liability in connection with any commercial contract entered into by it.
All members of the Appeals Body and all employees of, and Persons acting under the direction of the Appeals Body shall be deemed to be public officers/servants for the purposes of the Criminal Law No. (11) of 2004 of the State.