Following receipt of a complaint, or on the Advocate's own initiative, a file will be created. The Advocate will undertake such investigations and procure such evidence as he feels necessary to make a proper determination of the case.
Often this investigation will involve interviewing the person or organization who made the complaint, any potential witnesses, and a review of relevant documentary evidence.
The University Advocate will then review the file and may decide
- The facts do not disclose any violation of the Code of Conduct and close the file
- There is an arguable case that the Code has been violated.
In the event of the latter, the Advocate will usually, although is not required to, ask the person against whom a complaint has been received, to attend a meeting with him. The purpose of this meeting is to complete the investigation by hearing from all the sides involved.
Anyone who attends this meeting will be formally cautioned under the Code of Conduct (s.2.3) before it proceeds. No one is obliged to attend this meeting, and no adverse inference will be drawn from refusing to attend the meeting. However, the issue will almost inevitably then have to be forwarded to a full hearing of the Discipline Committee.
Meeting with the Advocate may clarify that no violation of the Code has occurred or may result in the matter being disposed of by way of a voluntary agreement with the Advocate which protects the interests of the University and is in accordance with the justice of the case.
If following this meeting the Advocate is of the opinion that the Code has been violated and that there is sufficient evidence to prove that before either the Minor Offences or Discipline Committee, the file will be listed for hearing unless a voluntary agreement has been entered into.
If a voluntary agreement is entered into between the University Advocate and the student, then the issue may, in certain circumstances be presented for mention to the Discipline Committee but the student will not be expected to appear at such a hearing.