Hearing Process


A hearing will be set at a date and time that is convenient for both you and Discipline Counsel. If a schedule cannot be agreed upon by the parties, a request can be made through the ADFG Office to the Senior Chair to provide assistance.

We strongly encourage students to seek legal representation. You have the right to be represented, although some students choose to represent themselves.

Downtown Legal Services

DLS is staffed by law students working under the supervision of lawyers, and is a service provided free of charge to students who qualify.
655 Spadina Avenue 
Toronto, ON M5S 2H9 
Downtown Legal Services Website

Law Society Referral Service

The Law Society of Ontario operates the Law Society Referral Service. You will be able to speak with a lawyer or paralegal and receive up to a 30 minute consultation for free.
416-947-3330 (within the GTA) 
Law Society Referral Service Website 

Legal Aid Ontario

In 1998, the Ontario government enacted the Legal Aid Services Act in which the province renewed and strengthened its commitment to legal aid. The Act established Legal Aid Ontario (LAO), an independent but publicly funded and publicly accountable non-profit corporation, to administer the province's legal aid program.
416-979-1446 (Toronto)
1-800-668-8258 (Toll Free)
Legal Aid Website 

If you need a disability-related accommodation to participate in this academic appeal process, please review and follow the procedure set out in the Protocol for Requesting Accommodation for Disabilities in the Academic Discipline Process.


Panel Members

Panels are composed of three people, the Senior Chair or Associate Chair, who is legally qualified, and two members of the Discipline Appeals Board. One member of the panel will be a faculty member and one member shall be a student. Panel members are neutral and will not have sat on the Student’s case previously and will have no prior knowledge of the Student’s situation when chosen to hear the appeal. Once selected, they will be given details about the Student’s case as the appeal materials filed by both parties will be provided to the panel members in advance of the hearing. The Chair is responsible for answering any questions of law and writing the final decision of the panel, which the other panel members will review and approve.

The Divisional Representative

A representative from the Division to which the Student belongs, this may be a Dean’s Designate or other Divisional Representative.

Discipline Counsel

Discipline Counsel, who may be the same lawyer who represented the University at the original hearing.


The Secretary of the Tribunal is the Director of the ADFG Office or his or her designate. The Secretary is neutral and his or her role is to record the hearing and answer procedural questions. He or she does not have a speaking role at the hearing.


The Student, if they have brought forth the case, is expected to attend the hearing, with or without counsel.


Observers sometimes attend hearings, and may include:

  • The student’s family and/or friend(s)
  • A member of the Tribunal or Discipline Appeals Board who is not a panel member for that particular hearing
  • Articling students or others invited by Discipline Counsel
  • A University employee connected to the case

The Discipline Appeals Board hearing is NOT a new hearing, but rather, is a hearing to review the decision of the Tribunal. As with Tribunal hearings, each Discipline Appeals Board hearing proceeds differently and at the discretion of the Senior Chair or Associate Chair. These hearings are normally recorded.

Discipline Appeals Board hearings are open to the public in accordance with s.9.(1) of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chap. S.22 as amended. Normally, however, only the individuals who are directly involved in a case will attend the hearing, that is, the three (3) panel members, the Student, with counsel if applicable, Discipline Counsel, with divisional representatives and the ADFG Secretary or designate.

Below is general information about what you can usually expect to happen at a Discipline Appeals Board hearing: 

Opening Remarks

  • The Chair will make introductory remarks and will introduce him or herself and the other panel members.
  • Discipline Counsel will introduce him or herself and any individuals that her or she has brought with them.
  • You or your counsel will introduce yourselves and individuals you have brought.

Hearing of the Appeal

  • Except in exceptional circumstances, an appeal is argued on the basis of the evidence and record of the initial hearing.  In exceptional circumstances and with the permission of the Discipline Appeals Board, new evidence may be submitted.
  • The party who has appealed then sets out in oral argument the relief that party seeks (ie. is the party seeking that the finding of guilt or not guilt be reversed, or looking for a different sanction than what was imposed by the Tribunal), and the legal and factual basis for that relief (ie. the facts and points which the party is relying on to support their arguments, based on what was imposed by the Tribunal).
  • The responding party (you or your representative or Discipline Counsel) then responds with an argument of the legal and factual basis upon which it is argued the appeal should be denied.
  • The appealing party then has a brief opportunity to respond to new issues that have come up in the responding arguments which were not evident at the time of the appellant’s argument.
  • Panel members may ask questions of any of the parties.

Panel Retires to Deliberate in camera (in closed session)

  • The panel will end the hearing and will deliberate (in camera - in private; between panel members only) to determine the appropriate outcome.

Decision and Reasons 

  • In circumstances where the reasons for decision are not provided at the time of the hearing, you can normally expect written reasons to be delivered within 90 days. The ADFG Office will distribute the decisions with written reasons to you or your representative and Discipline Counsel once they have been finalized and received.


In circumstances where the reasons for decision are not provided at the time of the hearing, written reasons for decision will be issued at a later date, normally within 90 days, although the reasons may be issued sooner, and in rare occasions may take longer.

The process of issuing reasons for the decision is as follows:

  • Once the ADFG Office receives the draft from the Panel, the Office will format it; 
  • Conduct a fact and name check;
  • Circulate it to the Panel again for their approval (only if there are any changes); 
  • Finally, the Office will release it to you and the Division and will post it online to the ADFG website (it will not contain your name because as per the Code of Behaviour the name of the student is withheld).  A summary will then be reported to the Academic Board. The case will also be summarized in the case summaries section of the ADFG website.

ADFG Office

Decisions are reported to the Provost and are generally published with the Student's name withheld. The full decisions are placed here.  Summaries of all decisions can be found here.


The Provost's Office will receive notification of the Decision at the same time as the Student and will deal with the publication accordingly.


The Division will also be notified of the Decision, it will make note of any sanctions ordered by the panel, such as reprimands, suspensions, disciplinary notations, confirmed expulsions, changes to course marks, etc.

Academic Board

Summaries of all decisions are reported semi-annually to the Academic Board, a sub-committee of the Governing Council.