about the Disciplinary Board of the Hawai'i Supreme Court
The Disciplinary Board of the Hawai`i Supreme Court is an 18-member body appointed by the Supreme Court to supervise the attorney discipline system. Board members are both lawyers and non-lawyers serving without compensation. The Disciplinary Board sets policy guidelines for handling disciplinary matters; acts as a reviewing body for all cases in which formal disciplinary proceedings have been instituted; issues formal opinions on ethics issues; and oversees the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
There is a clear separation between the duties and functions of the Disciplinary Board and ODC with respect to attorney discipline. The ODC is the "prosecutorial arm" of the attorney discipline process. It investigates all complaints and makes recommendations whether to pursue formal disciplinary proceedings. The hearing officer, and in some cases, a hearing committee, listens to the evidence and makes a recommendation regarding attorney discipline. The Disciplinary Board then acts as a reviewing body. Such separation ensures that parties and attorney respondents are given fair and impartial review of their cases.
The Hawai`i lawyer discipline system is funded solely by annual registration fees paid by Hawai`i's lawyers. Ethics investigations are conducted without charge to any complaining party.