QUESTION: We have an owner who is demanding the right to bring a lawyer to his disciplinary hearing. Does the owner have a "right" to bring his lawyer?
ANSWER: No, he does not have a right to bring a lawyer. Boards can set their own policy about allowing or disallowing lawyers at disciplinary hearings. Boards can adopt one of the following models when it comes to hearings:
1. Superior Court Model. Some associations adopt the superior court model and allow owners to have representation. The benefit is that owners feel their rights have been protected. The downside is that lawyers intimidate boards and drive up legal fees. Generally, boards want the association's legal counsel to be present if the owner's lawyer is attending. Under this model, if an owner unexpectedly brings a lawyer, the board may continue the hearing to a later date so the association's lawyer can attend.
2. Small Claims Model. In the alternative, associations can adopt the small claims model of prohibiting lawyers. This minimizes intimidation and reduces legal fees.
ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us.
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