BULLETIN: Professional regulatory law update - Review of July 2014

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Welcome to our latest edition of the professional regulatory law update, our update of the important case law and news in the field of Professional Regulation.

This month sees a number of appeals by the Professional Standards Authority and of particular interest is the case of PSA v (1) General Chiropractic Council (2) Briggs. The PSA appealed the decision of the Council's Professional Conduct Committee on the grounds that allegations of dishonesty had not been considered and that the sanction imposed was unduly lenient. On allowing the appeal, the Court commented that the Council had made an error in not referring the additional allegations of dishonesty which, had a finding been made, it is likely that the sanction imposed would have been more severe.

Sticking with the theme of dishonesty, the case of Professional Standards Authority v (1) Health & Care Professions Council (2) Ghaffar reiterates the comments of Parkinson v NMC in terms of the affect dishonesty is likely to have on a panel's finding of impairment. Where the second respondent had breached a fundamental tenet of honesty, the Court commented that the Committee's decision to make no finding of impairment was manifestly inappropriate.

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Please click on the links to view the recent key regulatory cases and press releases.

Regulatory cases

Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care v General Pharmaceutical Council

[2014] EWHC 2521 (Admin)

Following the second respondent's convictions for two counts of cruelty to a child under 16, the Fitness to Practise Panel of the first respondent General Pharmaceutical Council found her fitness to practise was impaired and suspended her from the register for 12 months. The appellant Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care appealed. The Administrative Court, in allowing the appeal, held that the panel had erred in its approach to the question of the second respondent's insight into her conduct. The lack of insight and the lack of integrity identified by the panel meant that its decision to suspend, rather than remove, had been manifestly wrong.

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HK v General Pharmaceutical Council 

[2014] CSIH 61

Court of Session: In a statutory appeal by a pharmacist, who was convicted of domestic violence offences, against a decision to remove his name from the Register of Pharmacists rather than impose some lesser sanction, the Court held that it was likely that the General Pharmaceutical Council's Fitness to Practise Committee did not consider the possibility of suspension for 12 months with an indication that that should be extended for a longer period, and on that basis the Committee's decision as to sanction was flawed.

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Professional Standards Authority v (1) Health & Care Professions Council (2) Ghaffar

[2014] EWHC 2723 (Admin)

The Professional Standards Authority appealed the decision of the Health & Care Professions Council Conduct and Competence Committee's decision that Mr Ghaffar's fitness to practise was not impaired by reason of a conviction for an offence of making false representation for personal gain. The Court commented that the decision was manifestly inappropriate.

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Professional Standards Authority v (1) General Chiropractic Council (2) Briggs (2014) 

[2014] EWHC 2190 (Admin)

The Professional Conduct Committee of the General Chiropractic Council found the second respondent guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by providing chiropractic treatment to patients when registered as 'non-practising' and without having indemnity insurance. The Committee imposed a six month suspension order without provision for review. The Professional Standards Authority appealed the decision on the grounds that allegations of dishonesty had not been considered and that the sanction was unduly lenient. 

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Adu v General Medical Council

[2014] EWHC 1946 (Admin)

Warby J sets out carefully the considerations for judicial recusal on the basis that his consideration of the case may give rise to apparent or actual bias.

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Other cases

Karus v Scottish Legal Complaints Commission and another 

[2014] CSIH 59

Court of Session: Refusing a solicitor's appeal against the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission's decision that although the normal one year time-limit had not been met there were exceptional circumstances for accepting a complaint against him for investigation, the court held that the appellant had failed to establish any material error of law by the SLCC, nor any other ground of challenge to its decision to accept the complaint for investigation.

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Dr Chakrabarty v Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust

In the case of Dr Chakrabarty v Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust (and the National Clinical Assessment Service as an interested party) the High Court refused the application for a permanent injunction restraining the Trust from referring performance concerns about Dr Chakrabarty to a capability panel. A significant decision on how to deal with concerns about doctors’ clinical capabilities.

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Press releases

Our Professional Regulatory team highlights key press releases from July 2014, including the GMC, Care Quality Commission, Department of Health, NMC, GOC, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, GDC, the ACCA and more.

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People news

Our Professional Regulatory team looks at people news in the professional regulatory field during July 2014.

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