Blake Morgan PRT Commentary - The Nursing and Midwifery Council v Dorothy Daniels [2015] EWCA Civ 225

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This is an informative and engaging decision which comprehensively deals with the issue of applications for the extension of the NMC appeal time limit.

Jackson LJ succinctly sets out the relevant authorities, and also refers to the decisions that have followed them. It is very clear from this decision that the "exceptional circumstances" test is almost insurmountable, and will save Registrants and their representatives' time and money if they have proper regard to this unequivocal decision. Nevertheless this case is ultimately Pyrrhic victory for the NMC as Jackson LJ sent a warning shot to the NMC, as was done by Leveson LJ to the GMC in the case of Southall v General Medical Council [2010] EWCA Civ 407, that he was wholly unimpressed with the NMC's "snail pace" in relation to its disciplinary proceedings. That in light of its own "dilatoriness" its robust challenge to out-of-time appeals was somewhat "harsh". The President of the Queen's Bench Division also stated the following "I add only my expression of concern at the time that this disciplinary process has taken. All disciplinary bodies must have regard to the legitimate interests not only of the professional under investigation but also complainants and the public generally. It is therefore necessary to ensure that procedures are both efficient and expeditious: in this case, the three years that it has taken on the investigation and the eight days then required to hear what is a comparatively straightforward allegation could hardly be so described (para.49)."

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