27 October 2021
From 14 October 2021 to 15 November 2021, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) is conducting a public consultation on proposed amendments to appeals regulations.
The relevant Acts administered by MAS contain provisions for persons who are the subject of certain MAS decisions to appeal to the Minister, e.g. where MAS decides to withdraw or suspend a licence or regulatory status, remove an office holder from his position in a financial institution, or issue a prohibition order. In some of these appeals, the Minister must constitute an appeal advisory committee (“AAC”) to study the materials and make recommendations to the Minister.
The rules governing appeals involving an AAC are set out in regulations under the respective Acts, namely, the Securities and Futures (Appeals) Regulations, Financial Advisers (Appeals) Regulations, Business Trusts (Appeals) Regulations, Insurance (Appeals) Regulations, and Trust Companies (Appeals) Regulations (together, “Appeals Regulations”).
MAS is proposing amendments to the Appeals Regulations to strengthen the appeal process by making it more efficient, fair and practical.
The following are some of the proposed changes:
- Order in which the parties file their cases: MAS proposes that the order in which the parties file their respective cases be reversed, i.e. MAS files its case first and the appellant files his case thereafter. This would be a more efficient process that still ensures fairness by giving the appellant the opportunity to review and respond fully to MAS’ detailed reasons.
- Timelines for the parties to file their cases: MAS proposes to extend the amount of time that both parties have to file their respective cases to 28 days. Currently, under the Appeal Regulations, the appellant has 21 days to file his case, and MAS has 14 days to file its case. It is proposed that MAS is to file its case within 28 days of the appellant lodging the notice of appeal, and the appellant is to file his case within 28 days of MAS filing its case.
- Case management conference: Instead of having fixed timelines in the Appeal Regulations for the submission of documents and lists of witnesses, MAS proposes to include in the Appeal Regulations the concept of a case management conference, during which the AAC gives directions taking into consideration the views of the parties. This would include directions on timelines for the filing of submissions, documents and witness statements, calling of witnesses, evidence that may be required, and the timetable leading up to the hearing. This allows for full flexibility to accommodate the specific needs of each case.
- Timeframe to conduct hearing: Currently, an appeal must be heard within 28 days of the constitution of the AAC. MAS proposes to amend this timeframe, to enable the AAC to conduct the hearing within 42 days of the appellant filing his case. This would give the AAC greater flexibility to set a suitable hearing date that is appropriate to the complexity of the case. MAS also proposes to allow the Minister to extend the 42-day time limit where required.
- Form of hearing: In order to save time and resources in straightforward appeals, MAS proposes to give the AAC the power to conduct a hearing by way of written submissions instead of an oral hearing. MAS also proposes to give the AAC the power to conduct a hearing by video conference.
- Consolidation of appeal proceedings: MAS proposes to provide the AAC with the power to order appeal proceedings to be consolidated and heard together. This would facilitate the efficient and consistent consideration by the AAC of closely connected decisions of MAS.
- Confidential treatment of documents: It is proposed that should MAS wish to withhold the disclosure of a document or information from the appellant, MAS must make a request to the AAC that it be allowed to do so. The AAC will consider MAS’ request, and write to the Minister with its recommendations on whether the document or information should be withheld from the appellant, and whether a summary of the document or information should be provided to the appellant. After considering the recommendations of the AAC, the Minister will decide whether MAS should disclose the document or information, disclose a redacted version of the document or a part of the information, or provide a summary of the document or information to the appellant.
- Summary of parties’ arguments: MAS proposes that each of the parties submit a summary of their respective arguments to the AAC at the close of an appeal hearing, and that these summaries be included in the AAC’s report to the Minister. This will provide the AAC and the Minister with an overview of the key issues and arguments raised during the appeal.
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