Whose rights? Professional discipline and the incorporation of a (human) rights framework: the case of ICAS

Catriona Paisey*, Nicholas J. Paisey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Professions typically develop disciplinary systems that allow them to caution, fine or expel members whose conduct falls below expected standards. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) has amended its disciplinary procedures following challenge under the UK's Human Rights Act 1998. This paper aims to explore the implications of the incorporation of a (human) rights' framework on ICAS's professional discipline. Disciplinary procedures are located in the context of the nature of professions and professionalism. Human rights legislation relevant to professional discipline is examined and its impact in the context of the nature of rights in general, and human rights in particular, is explored. The ICAS disciplinary changes are discussed in the context of a Hohfeldian-type framework of a range of types of rights. ICAS's procedures are shown to be multifaceted and, when examined in terms of rights (and, where relevant, duties) provide added insight into the nature of accountancy's professional discipline, but deficiencies remain, with the public interest continuing to be subservient to the private interest of accountants and their professional body.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-35
Number of pages19
JournalCritical Perspectives On Accounting
Issue number1
Early online date19 Nov 2011
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2012


  • accountants
  • complaints
  • discipline
  • duties
  • human rights
  • ICAS
  • public interest
  • rights


Dive into the research topics of 'Whose rights? Professional discipline and the incorporation of a (human) rights framework: the case of ICAS'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this