BULLETIN: Professional regulatory law update - Review of March 2015

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Welcome to Blake Morgan's 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's addition looks at legal developments in March 2015.

There has been a focus on proceeding in the absence this month. Lawrance v GMC reiterated the caution to be exercised by fitness to practise panels when proceeding in the absence of a party and how there are different stages during a hearing at which, a registrant can be invited back to give their evidence.  Schools v SRA showed that even where a panel may err slightly in their reasoning for proceeding in the absence, the Court will not support a persistently disruptive registrant in their quest to adjourn proceedings on their terms. 

On a similar note, but different angle, the Judgment in Radeke v GDC revealed the Court moving away from showing deference to the experience of fitness to practise committees in circumstances where a registrant has absented from the proceedings.  Please follow the link below for the Blake Morgan PRT Commentary on the Radeke Judgment.

Please see the link below for the Blake Morgan PRT Commentary on the NMC v Daniels Judgment - which comprehensively deals with applications made for an extension to the time limit for NMC appeals.

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

Regulatory cases

The Nursing and Midwifery Council v Dorothy Daniela [2015] EWCA Civ 225

This case concerned a challenge by the NMC to a High Court decision, namely the decision by Davies J to allow a Registrant's application for the extension of the NMC appeal time-limit. Jackson LJ succinctly noted that the central issue in this appeal was "… the nature of the circumstances which would entitle the court to override the statutory time limit of 28 days" (para 23). He expressly held that in cases concerning NMC appeal time-limit/delay that the test expounded by their lordships in Adesina and Baines v Nursing and Midwifery Council [2013] EWCA Civ 818 remained the main authority and must be followed.

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Schools v Solicitor Regulation Authority [2015] EWHC 872 (Admin)

The appellant solicitor appealed against the decision of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (the SDT), finding a number of allegations against him proved and ordering that he should be struck off the roll of solicitors. The Administrative Court, in dismissing the appeal, held that, in refusing to adjourn the proceedings and proceeding in the appellant's absence, the SDT had wrongly rejected medical evidence on the basis that it had not been a reasoned opinion which had answered all relevant questions. However, the evidence had justified the SDT having taken the view that the appellant had decided that he would only attend on his own terms, namely, when he could instruct lawyers to represent him.

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Lawrance v General Medical Council [2015] EWCH 586 (Admin)

Dr Lawrance ["the Appellant"] appealed against a decision of the General Medical Council's ["GMC"] Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service ["MPTS"] given on 28 April 2014.  A finding of dishonesty was made against the Appellant which led to an erasure from the register.  The Appellant appealed against the finding of dishonesty and against the fact that the MPTS panel proceeded in her absence.

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Radeke v General Dental Council [2015] EWHC 778 (Admin)

The background to the case was very serious, involving the death of a patient, and the allegations that were found proved against the Appellant consisted of both clinical failings and also dishonesty. In the High Court, Turner J was able to narrow the appeal issues to that of dishonesty.

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Held v General Dental Council [2015] EWHC 669 (Admin)

Mr Held ["the Appellant"] brought an appeal under s.29 of the Dentists Act 1984 against the decision of the Professional Conduct Committee ["PCC"] of the General Dental Council ["GDC"] respondent. The PCC determined that the Appellant's fitness to practise was impaired by reason of his misconduct, namely his failure to obtain professional indemnity insurance during the period of 31 May to 11 July 2013. The PCC determined that the appropriate sanction was erasure of the Appellant's name from the register of dentists. The Appellant appealed the decision on four grounds. Additionally, in support of his appeal, the Appellant sought to adduce new evidence in the form of witness statements from 9 of the 26 patients of whom the PCC had found that he had treated during the relevant period.

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Press releases

Our Professional Regulatory team highlights key releases from March 2015 including NMC, GCC, RPS, GMC, NCTL, GOC, GPhC, FRC, CQC, BSB, RCVS and the Department of Health.

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People news

Our Professional Regulatory team looks at people news in the professional regulatory field during March 2015.

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