What is a Hearing Panel (HP)?
A Hearing Panel (HP) is an alternative resolution mechanism, where instead of going to trial the case is decided summarily by a panel of judges.
The decision is made by a 3-judge panel made up of either UJC or FYJC Representatives, as the case demands. No one attends the proceeding except for the judges themselves. The panel makes their decision based on the Investigator's Report (IR) for the case as well as any written statement(s) submitted by the Accused. Because Hearing Panels only occur in cases where the Accused admits guilt to all charges, the purpose of the proceeding is solely to decide on a sanction. Hearing Panels and their procedures are established in Article VII of the UJC By-Laws.
At any point 72 hours or more before scheduled trial time in a case pending before the UJC or FYJC, the parties to the case may request that the matter be decided by a Hearing Panel. These requests can be submitted via the UJC online system: navigate to the correct case page, scroll down, and select "Request Hearing Panel." For the Accused, requesting a Hearing Panel does two important things:
- Admits guilt to all charges being brought against them
- Waives their right to trial, including the ability to present witnesses and evidence
The UJC may grant a Hearing Panel if:
- All parties to the case—including both the Complainant and the Accused—have requested it;
- The Accused is a first-time offender (that is, the Accused has not been found guilty at any prior UJC or FYJC trial); and
- The UJC deems the offense minor.
The UJC may nevertheless deny any request for a Hearing Panel if it determines that a regular trial is appropriate. Additionally, even in cases where a Hearing Panel is granted and the proceedings begin, the judges may choose to stop and arrange a regular trial if needed.
No witnesses or evidence may be presented at a regular Hearing Panel, except that the Accused may submit a personal, written statement which details extenuating circumstances surrounding the case, character testimony, and any steps taken since the event. These statements should be submitted to the UJC through the counselor for the Accused by the deadline specified by the Hearing Chair.
When a Hearing Panel is conducted, any resulting sanctions are recorded and emailed to all parties to the case. While guilt cannot be appealed, the same appeals process for sanctions in any other UJC or FYJC case applies. Refer to the FAQs for Accused students.
Alternative Hearing Panels (AHPs)
An Alternative Hearing Panel (AHP) is a modified version of a Hearing Panel used in emergency situations, as defined in Article VII, Section B of the UJC By-Laws. It operates exactly the same way as a regular Hearing Panel, except that:
- Once the Voting Members have approved a case to be heard by Alternative Hearing Panel, it will in fact be heard by Alternative Hearing Panel only if the Accused admits guilt to all charges and declines their right to resolution by trial
- The Complainant need not request a Hearing Panel for a case to be heard by Alternative Hearing Panel
- In addition to a written statement, both the Complainant and the Accused may submit any relevant evidence to the panel, provided that the opposing party is given a reasonable opportunity to review such evidence