Legal Updates

Employment Law – Professional Misconduct – Appeals Process

 

In the recent case of Siddiqui v Health Professions Council [2012] EWHC 2863, a radiographer (“R”) sought to appeal against the decision whereby he was struck off the register by the Health Professions Council, specifically the Conduct and Competence Committee Panel (“the Panel”), due to misconduct which impaired his fitness to practise.

 

Basis for appeal

The parties had agreed that CPR 52 applied to the appeal.


CPR Part 52.11 sec.3

(3) The appeal court will allow an appeal where the decision of the lower court was –

(a) wrong; or

(b) unjust because of a serious procedural or other irregularity in the proceedings in the lower court.

 

The basis for R’s appeal was that the Panel had erred in assessing the credibility of evidence supplied by a witness.

 

The court’s approach in the case of Bhatt v GMC [2011] EWHC 783 was outlined, whereby the court considers the Panel to be a specialist tribunal that has the advantage of hearing live evidence. Thus, even though the court can correct errors of fact or approach, it should not jump to do so.

 

Decision

The High Court examined the record of the case, including all the evidence and determined that while there could be points raised concerning the credibility of the witness, in that one out of six factual particulars could not be proved, the Panel was in a better position to assess the witness’ credibility since it heard live testimony.

 

Furthermore, while the High Court conceded it had the authority to overturn the Panel’s decision, it decided there was insufficient cause to do so in this case. Thus, the High Court dismissed R’s appeal.

 

What this means?

This case demonstrates the deferential approach of the High Court with regards to findings of fact made by the first instance tribunal in fitness to practise proceedings. Instances where the court will interfere with such findings of fact will be rare.

 

If you require advice on employment law - our employment lawyers in London can assist you. Please contact us at enquiries@rtcooperssolicitors.com or visit one of the following pages:

 

© RT COOPERS, 2012. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.

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