Show cause notice means an order issued by a Court, Competent Authorities or an Organization asking an individual or a group of people to explain or to "show cause" in writing as to why the disciplinary action should not be taken against the individual or the group of people involved in certain incidents, misconduct, poor performance and wrongdoing. Order to show cause is issued by the authority or the Management after reviewing the entire incident and if finds that the person accused or may involved in wrongdoing and it is also to give a fair chance of hearing him and his explanation towards his/her actions and so avoid disciplinary action. Below, we have described the several reasons a person may receive a show cause notice, including how to write and respond to this kind of notice or letter.
Within a legal context, the court can issue a show cause order that requires a party to present before the court for explanation why a certain course of action should not be initiated against that party. For example if due procedure was not followed while filing a complaint, the court may issue a show cause order, to the investigating authority and lawyer regarding the same. The court will then conduct a show cause hearing, where the investigating authority and the lawyer will have to bring the proof and evidence and submit all facts and figure to explain the court that why the due course of action was not followed. If the lawyer fails to appear or if the explanation is weak the court may dismiss that case or issue the order to re-open the case and may ask for further investigation and appeal and bring that into the hearing.
Another example would be in an academic or educational context. If college authorities suspect a student of malpractice or some other gross misconduct or violation of college rules, a show cause letter may be issued asking the student to explain to the concerned college authorities why disciplinary action should not be taken against him/her. When a student receives a show cause notice it means that the college has already decided upon his/her punishment but is giving the student a final opportunity to respond and avoid being punished.
An order to show cause can be used by employers if there are legitimate grounds to dismiss an employee. These may be due to an employee’s ongoing behavioral, negligence at work or poor performance issues. Or because the unsatisfactory conduct was particularly serious in nature, as in the case of assault, harassment or theft. Even after they have received counseling or guidance, if the behavior still continues the same as it was an employer may issue a show cause notice to an employee regarding imminent punishment.
It is never easy to write Show cause notice because you know it will cause another person a great deal of distress. Just keep the letter simple and brief. Mention the specific reason why the person is receiving the notice and state clearly what are the consequences of not replying to the notice.
If a person receives an order to show cause it must be given the highest priority and must be taken very seriously, because it may just be the only chance to avoid termination, expulsion or even criminal charges. The show cause notice must be replied with explanation as soon as possible. Keep it brief and assure your employer that you are aware of the gravity of the situation and will respond accordingly.
Below we have several kinds of show cause notices and its replies as sample format and template for better understanding and leaning.