(a) Commencement of proceeding. The board may initiate proceedings under this chapter either on its own motion or on the complaint of any person.
(b) Notice; service and contents. A written notice stating the nature of the charge or charges against the accused and the time and place of the hearing before the board on such charges shall be served on the accused not less than 30 days prior to the date of said hearing either personally or by mailing a copy thereof by registered or certified mail to the address of the accused last known to the board.
(c) Failure to appear. If, after having been served with the notice of hearing as provided for herein, the accused fails to appear at said hearing and defend, the board may proceed to hear evidence against him or her and may enter such order as shall be justified by the evidence, which order shall be final unless he or she petitions for a review thereof as provided herein; provided, that within 30 days from the date of any order, upon a showing of good cause for failing to appear and defend, the board may reopen the proceedings and may permit the accused to submit evidence in his or her behalf.
(d) Counsel; witnesses; cross-examination. At any hearing the accused may appear in person or by counsel, produce evidence and witnesses on his or her own behalf, cross-examine witnesses and examine such evidence as may be produced against him or her. A professional association or corporation may be represented before the board by counsel or by a shareholder who is a certified public accountant or public accountant of this state in good standing. The accused shall be entitled, on application to the board, to the issuance of subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses on his behalf.
(e) Subpoenas; testimony; deposition.
(1) In all matters pending before it, the board shall have the power to issue subpoenas and compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of all necessary papers, books and records, documentary evidence and materials, or other evidence. Any person failing or refusing to appear or testify regarding any matter about which he or she may be lawfully questioned or to produce any papers, books, records, documentary evidence, or materials or other evidence in the matter to be heard, after having been required by order of the board or by subpoena of the board to do so, may, upon application by the board to any circuit judge of the State of Alabama, be ordered to comply therewith, and upon failure to comply with the order of the circuit judge, the court may compel obedience by attachment as for contempt, as in the case of disobedience of a similar order or subpoena issued by the court. The chairman and the secretary of the board shall have the authority to issue subpoenas, and any board member shall have authority to administer oaths to witnesses or to take their affirmation. A subpoena or other process or paper may be served upon any person named therein, anywhere within the State of Alabama, with the same fees and mileage, by any officer authorized to serve subpoenas or such other process or paper in civil actions, in the same manner as is prescribed by law for subpoenas issued out of the circuit courts of this state, the fees and mileage and other costs including witness fees and mileage to be paid as the board directs.
(2) Deposition may be taken within or without the State of Alabama in the manner provided for by the laws of Alabama and the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure for the taking of depositions in matters pending in the circuit courts of this state. The depositions shall be returnable to the clerk of the circuit court of the county wherein the hearing before the board is pending, and the clerk shall deliver the depositions to the board upon request, and the depositions may be opened or used by the parties to the proceedings the same as is provided for in matters pending before the circuit courts.
The circuit court shall, upon request of any interested party in any proceedings before the board, issue commissions for the taking of depositions in the same manner as is provided by law for the issuance of commissions for the taking of depositions in matters pending before the circuit courts of this state.
(f) Evidence. The board shall not be bound to observe formal rules of pleading or evidence.
(g) Record. A stenographic record of hearings shall be kept and a transcript thereof filed with the board.
(h) Attorney for the board. At all hearings, the Attorney General of this state, or one of his or her assistants designated by him or her, or such other legal counsel as may be employed by the board, shall appear and represent the board and participate in the presentation of any matter before the board.
(i) Decision. Any decision of the board shall be by majority vote thereof.
(j) Review by court.
(1) Anyone adversely affected by any order of the board may obtain a review thereof by filing a written petition for review with the Circuit Court of Montgomery County within 30 days after the entry of the order. The petition shall contain or have attached thereto a true copy of the order complained of and shall state the grounds upon which the review is asked and shall pray that the order of the board be modified or set aside in whole or in part. A copy of such petition shall be forthwith served upon any member of the board, and thereupon the board shall certify and file in the court a copy of its order and a complete transcript of the record upon which the order complained of was entered. The case shall then be tried and heard on the record made before the board, without the introduction of new or additional evidence, but the parties shall be permitted to file briefs. The court may affirm, modify, or set aside the board's order in whole or in part, or may remand the case to the board for further evidence, and may, in its discretion, stay the effect of the board's order pending its determination of the case. The court's decision shall have the force and effect of a judgment.
(2) From the judgment of the circuit court, either the board or the affected party who invoked the review may appeal directly to the Supreme Court of Alabama by taking such appeal within 42 days after the date of the making of and entering of its judgment by the circuit court. The affected party so appealing shall give security for the costs of such appeal to be approved by the register or clerk of the circuit court. No such security shall be required of the board.