Interim order opinion by Lord Brailsford

18th March 2022

The Court of Session has recently provided an opinion on an application for the extension of an interim conditions order.

Lord Brailsford refused the General Medical Council’s (GMC’s) petition on the basis that in its application, the GMC had set out the wrong threshold.

The petition said:

That there may be impairment of the respondent's fitness to practice which may adversely affect the public interest.

Thereafter, it included averments (described as “vague”), which purported to identify reasons which might cause concerns to the general public if the restrictions imposed were lifted.

The GMC’s own guidance in relation to the appropriate test was whether public confidence in the medical profession is likely to be seriously damaged if the doctor continues to hold unrestricted registration during the relevant period.” Lord Brailsford concluded it was clear that this guidance afforded a higher threshold to be met, and the petition was therefore refused on the basis that the GMC set out the wrong test to be applied.

This decision reiterates the essential need for regulators to specify and apply the correct test when seeking an extension to an interim order. It also reinforces the need for them to demonstrate, by way of evidence, that the threshold is reached.

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