Under Ordinance 14, Section 13.f.2. the Hearings Office issues notices
to the parties asking them to submit documents and notifying them of their
right to review all documents within their files. The parties have the right
to be represented by counsel or lay advocates who are admitted to practice
before the Tribal Court and may call witnesses and present evidence at the
hearings. A certified record of all prehearing conferences and hearings is
made. Following the hearings, the Hearings Officer makes recommendations
to the Tribal Certifier who makes the final enrollment decision. Final enrollment
decisions by the Certifier may be appealed to Tribal Court and the Tribal
Court of Appeals.
These standards apply to the hearings officer who is appointed by Tribal
Council pursuant to Section 13 of Ordinance 14 to serve in the Office of
Administrative Hearings (Hearings Office). The standards are designed to
promote honesty, integrity and impartiality in fulfilling the duties assigned
to the hearings officer by the Ordinance.
Impartiality. The Hearings Officer shall conduct hearings in an
impartial manner. The concept of Hearings Officer impartiality is central
to the administrative
process created by Ordinance 14. A Hearings Officer shall hear only
those matters in which it is possible to remain impartial and even-handed.
any time a Hearings Officer is unable to hear a case in an impartial
manner, the Hearings Officer is obligated to withdraw.
Conflict of Interest. A conflict of interest is an involvement or
relationship which might create an impression of possible bias or could
seen as raising a question about impartiality. A Hearings Officer
shall promptly disclose all actual and potential conflicts of interest
to the Hearings Officer and shall decline to hear the case. If a
Hearings Officer has a doubt about whether a conflict exists, he or she
himself or herself in order to preserve the integrity of the process.
The Hearings Officer shall guard against conflicts of interest during
and after the hearings. A Hearings Officer shall not subsequently
establish a professional relationship with one of the parties in a related
or in an unrelated matter under circumstances which would raise legitimate
questions about the integrity of the administrative process. A Hearings
Officer shall not establish a personal or intimate relationship with any
of the parties
that would raise legitimate questions about the integrity of the
Confidentiality. The Hearings Officer shall keep confidential all
communications and information pertaining to cases and matters both while
serving as a Hearings
Officer and after service. The Hearings Officer shall be bound by
the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct and any professional or ethical
attorneys established by the Tribe or the Tribal Court regarding
the duty to maintain the confidentiality of information obtained in the
performing duties as a Hearings Officer.
Quality of the Administrative Process. The Hearings Officer shall conduct
the hearings fairly and diligently. The Hearings Officer shall work to
ensure a quality process and to encourage mutual respect among the parties.
A quality process requires a commitment by the Hearings Officer to diligence
and procedural fairness. Each party to a matter should be afforded a chance
to participate in and be heard at the hearing, call witnesses, cross examine
witnesses and present evidence.