professional regulatory monthly ebulletin - review
of April 2012
Welcome to our latest edition of the professional regulatory
law update, our at a glance guide to the important case law
and news in the Professional Regulation field during the previous
This month we have seen two authorities from the Court of Appeal
of note. Solicitors Regulation Authority v Dennison
demonstrates that the Court of Appeal has yet to water down the
robust approach taken by the courts in appeals against striking off
order in cases of dishonesty. It continued to approve the approach
of considering there to be a small, residual category of
exceptional cases where dishonesty should not lead to being struck
Of greater significance is the decision in R (on the
application of Guardian News and Media Ltd) v City of Westminster
Magistrates' Court. The case concerned an application by the
Guardian for access to documents submitted to the Magistrates'
Court as part of an extradition hearing. Under the Civil Procedure
Rules written evidence would be available for inspection to any
interested person whereas under the Criminal Procedure Rules no
such provision exists. The District Judge therefore declined to
provide those documents to the Guardian and that decision was
upheld by the Divisional Court. The Court of Appeal, however, took
the view that the principle of open justice requires that the
general presumption must be that such requests should be granted,
notwithstanding the lack of any specific power to do so.
Many regulators now approach their proceedings in a manner far
more akin to civil proceedings. Witness statements and the evidence
is pre-read by the Committees and the statements are then read out
by witnesses. A common objection to taking matters a stage further
and having the statements stand as a witness' evidence-in-chief is
that members of the public would not ordinarily be entitled to see
those documents in the same way as they would a transcript of the
proceedings. This case would appear to put any such objection to
bed and assist in further opening the way for those regulators who
wish to streamline their hearings to have witnesses' statements
start to stand as their evidence-in-chief and for documents to be
Please click on the links to view this month's key regulatory
cases and press releases.
It was an established principle that a decision on whether a conviction was likely to bring a profession into disrepute was one primarily for the professional conduct committee and one to which the court should exercise a degree of deference before deciding that the decision was wrong.
Having regard to the finding of dishonesty, the imposition of a financial penalty had been insufficient to mark the seriousness of the conduct and to protect the reputation of the profession and maintain public confidence in it.
Where documents had been placed before a judge and referred to in the course of proceedings, the default position should be that access should be permitted on the open justice principle.
We highlight key press releases from April 2012, including those from the GDC, RCVS, CHRE, NMC, General Chiropractic Council, IPReg and GMC.
We look at people on the move during April 2012, including news from the NMC, GOC, CLC, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and Cheltenham Racecourse.
Please feel free to email Guy
Micklewright with any feedback in relation to
this month's update. Additionally, if you would like to receive
further information in relation to any of the cases or developments
referred to below, please email him and he will be pleased to
View past professional