BULLETIN: Professional regulatory law update - Review of October 2014
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.
The key decisions reached this October have focused on the appropriateness of sanctions delivered by regulatory panels. The cases of Monji v General Pharmaceutical Council, Inayatullah v General Medical Council and Adu v General Medical Council saw both a pharmacist and two doctors (respectively) unsuccessfully challenge their removal from the Register/s.
Jasinarachchi v General Medical Council saw a partially successful appeal from a trainee GP, leading to reconsideration by a fitness to practise committee, on the ground that the sanction of suspension would have had such an adverse effect on the registrant's training programme. The SRA v Uddin showed the Court taking action against a light touch sanction handed down by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
On a different, procedural note, an interesting and concise set of guidance was offered by Monji v General Pharmaceutical Council with regards to the legal approach for the High Court to adopt during statutory appeals from disciplinary tribunals. We have tweaked the guidance out for your ease of reference.
Please click on the links to view the recent key regulatory cases and press releases:
Monji v General Pharmaceutical Council 
EWHC 3128 (Admin)
Monji v General Pharmaceutical Council  - An appeal brought by a pharmacist against a decision made by the General Pharmaceutical Council's Fitness to Practise ["FtP"] Committee to remove him from the Register of Pharmacists. The Judge dismissed all grounds of the appeal and took the opportunity to provide a thorough Judgment with time spent analysing the legal approach for the High Court to adopt during statutory appeals from disciplinary tribunals.
R (on the application of Lumsdon and others) v Legal Services Board 
EWCA Civ 1276
Criminal barristers sought judicial review of the decision of the Legal Services Board (LSB) to implement the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA), a scheme for the assessment of the performance of criminal advocates in England and Wales by Judges. The Court held that it was not for them to decide whether the QASA was disproportionate and that the LSB was entitled to a substantial margin of discretion in relation to the question of whether the decision was proportionate.
R (on the application of Lonsdale) v Bar Standards Board (2014)
QBD (Admin) Unreported
The Court determined that a disciplinary tribunal of the Council of the Inns of Court could order an unsuccessful defendant to pay for the costs associated with the administration of the tribunal. This included the cost of attendance for the tribunal clerk, shorthand writer and the fees and expenses of the lay members.
Inayatullah v General Medical Council 
All ER (D) 237 (Oct)
Medical practitioner - Professional conduct committee. The appellant doctor appealed against the decisions of the General Medical Council's Fitness to Practise Panel (the panel) that his fitness to practise was impaired and that erasure from the register was the appropriate sanction. The Administrative Court, in dismissing the appeal, held that the panel's legal assessor had provided proper guidance and a direction on the appellant's good character had not been required. In light of those conclusions, the challenge to the sanction had been unarguable.
Jasinarachchi v General Medical Council 
EWCH 3570 (Admin)
A Fitness to Practice Panel imposed a 6 month suspension on a trainee GP's Registration. It subsequently came to light that the effect of this was for the trainee to be removed from their training programme. During the course of the appeal hearing, new evidence was adduced and it was held that, despite the fact that one of the Ladd v Marshall principles had not be complied with, justice required fresh evidence to be admitted and for the matter to be reconsidered by the FTPP.
Adu v General Medical Council 
All ER (D) 197
The appellant doctor appealed against the decision of the Fitness to Practise Panel (the panel) of the respondent General Medical Council that his fitness to practise was impaired and that he should be removed from the register. The Administrative Court, in dismissing the appeal, held that the panel's decision had not been infected by bias and that an error in the statistical analysis of the appellant's assessment had not diminished the overall analysis that the appellant's performance had been deficient. Accordingly, there was no less intrusive measure that could have been used than removing the appellant's name from the register.
Solicitors Regulation Authority v Uddin 
Judgment yet to be transcribed
The Solicitors Regulation Authority [SRA] appealed the determination of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal [SDT] to fine a solicitor who knowingly instructed an incompetent expert witness under a Conditional Fee Arrangement [CFA] for 15 months. The SDT sanctioned a £2,000 fine and the SRA argued that the appropriate sanction was a suspension.
Key releases include those from the GMC, NMC, GDC, GPhC, CILEx, General Chiropractic Council, Department of Health and Care Quality Commission.
LSB announces new Chief Executive and Jason Stokes resigns from General Dental Council.