Oyesanya v GMC [2017] EWHC 409 (Admin)

Posted by Antonia Dowgray on


Professional regulators will be assisted by this decision relating to robust case management orders when dealing with appeals involving voluminous, document heavy cases and Appellants raising issues which are "quintessentially" case management decisions of the first instance Tribunal.


This case is an example of the appeal court exercising robust case management to narrow the focus of a statutory appeal to the essential issues.  This was following a MPTS hearing which Justice Holman opined had lasted "incredibly" for 57 days, and "must have got completely out of control".


The case was a statutory appeal by a consultant gynaecologist from the decisions of the MPTS. The MPTS hearing had lasted fifty-seven days. The Appellant represented himself at both the MPTS and in his appeal.  Much of the MPTS hearing time was occupied with exploring matters on which the Appellant was ultimately exculpated. The MPTS found three allegations proved. These related to two failures to provide good clinical care in 2008 and 2011, and a failure in communication with a colleague in 2008. These facts amounted to serious professional misconduct. The MPTS found his fitness to practise was impaired and that his registration should be suspended for three months.

At the appeal hearing, the Appellant sought an adjournment of his appeal to enable him to obtain representation from the Bar Pro Bono unit. Holman J observed that the MPTS hearing had resulted in a "phenomenal" volume of documentation. In deciding to grant the adjournment application, Holman J stated with reference to his discretionary power:

[8] "...I can link that discretion with the exercise of other very important discretionary powers and duties upon the court by Rules 1.1 and 1.4 of the Civil Procedure Rules, including within them 1.4 (2) (b) and (c), and also Rule 3.1 (2) (k). All these rules, separately and in combination, confer upon the court both a power and a duty to limit the issues and to exclude certain issues from consideration."

Holman J further stated:

[9] – [10] "Quite frankly, and with all due respect to the Tribunal, this case must have got completely out of control before them. It is wholly disproportionate that a Tribunal should find itself spending as many as fifty-seven days at phenomenal expense hearing the sort of issues which arose in this case, including those allegations which were found not proved.

"There is, frankly, a serious risk that, unless I exercise robust case management powers, the appeal to this court could become no less uncontrolled".

Mr Justice Holman explained that the purpose for the issuing of the order was to "slim the focus of this appeal right down to those essential matters …upon the actual record of determination by the Tribunal" [14].  Holman J ruled out "any further consideration" of matters in the appeal relating to the Appellant's complaints about case management and procedural decisions taken by the MPTS [18], and limited the papers for the appeal hearing to a "very slimed down volume of documents", including those that the Respondent had prepared and allowing for "one additional bundle not exceeding two-hundred pages" which the barrister for the Appellant considered "essential" for the disposal of the appeal [19].    

About the Author

Antonia is a Senior Associate in our Professional Regulatory team based in London.

Antonia Dowgray
Email Antonia
020 7814 5499

View Profile