Professional disciplinary

Gough Square’s professional disciplinary barristers represent a range of professionals facing investigations and hearings before their regulators. The growth of well-funded regulatory bodies and the emerging body of law in relation to the conduct of hearings has resulted in an increase in the number of hearings, some dealing with highly complex issues.

There is also an increasing issue with unrepresented registrants who, for one reason or another, are not offered representation by their professional bodies. Gough Square Chambers’ professional disciplinary barristers cater for all those affected before the various professional panels.

Members of Chambers have recently appeared in cases involving the following regulators:

Professional Services

  • Financial Conduct Authority (Regulatory Decisions Committee)
  • Financial Reporting Council
  • HMRC
  • Solicitors Regulation Authority

Healthcare

  • Care Quality Commission
  • General Medical Council
  • General Social Care Council
  • Nursing and Midwifery Council

Financial Professionals

Members of Chambers represent firms and individuals facing sanction by the Financial Conduct Authority, both before the Regulatory Decisions Committee (RDC) and on referral to the Upper Tribunal. Members historically represented firms and individuals in similar hearings before the OFT and Consumer Credit Appeals Tribunal.

Financial Conduct Authority v Fortuna Wealth Management Ltd [2020] : representation of a firm facing imposition of an OIREQ in oral representations before the FCA’s Regulatory Decisions Committee and on reference to the Upper Tribunal. The OIREQ related to the firm’s involvement in the British Steel pensions scandal (press coverage here)

Nationwide Debt Consultants Ltd v Financial Conduct Authority [2017] : representation of a debt management company before the Upper Tribunal seeking suspension of termination of its interim permission

Solicitors

The SRA regulates all aspects of solicitors’ practices. Issues that have been dealt with by members of Chambers include
• Applications to strike off for Client Account irregularities and breach of undertakings
• Failure to pay Assigned Risk Pool premiums following administration
• Stamp Duty Land Tax avoidance schemes
• SRA interventions
• Waiver applications before various SRA committees.

Solicitors Regulation Authority v Junius Ho (2020) SDT 12115: successful defence of a prominent Hong Kong politician accused of inciting violence at a public rally (press coverage here)

Maistry v Solicitors Regulation Authority [2012] EWHC 3041 (Admin): appeal against sanction imposed by the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal

Accountants and Actuaries

Regulatory oversight of the UK accountancy and actuarial professions is conducted by the FRC (the UK’s independent regulator responsible for promoting high quality corporate governance and reporting). The FRC sets codes and standards and also oversees the regulatory activities of the professional accountancy bodies.
Public Interest cases are dealt with by the FRC Conduct Committee, the successor to the Accountants and Actuarial Disciplinary Board [AADB]. Disciplinary hearings are also conducted by the various bodies such as the ICAEW, CIMA, CIPFA, ICIA, ACCA and ICAS.
Gough Square Chambers has a wealth of experience in dealing with technical accountancy issues that relate to PLCs and smaller practices, where technical issues often arise. Jeremy Barnett was a board member of the AADB for four years between 2009 – 2013.

Healthcare

There has been a real growth in the number of disciplinary hearings over the past ten years. The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service [MPTS] (formerly known as the GMC disciplinary tribunals) is now based in Manchester and often holds three Interim Orders panels as well as the various fitness to practice hearings. Members of Chambers are regularly instructed on behalf of both defendants and regulators in these proceedings. Members also act as legal assessors at the NMC (the Nursing and Midwifery Council).

Other disciplinary cases conducted by members of Gough Square Chambers include representing Social Workers, Dentists, Osteopaths, and Chiropractors – many of which are now regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HPC). Members of Chambers also represent the Care Quality Commission on issues relating to management failings.

  • Nursing and Midwifery Council v D : representation of D at her fitness to practice hearing. D was accused of failures which contributed to the death of a patient. At the hearing, the panel made no finding of misconduct or impairment;
  • N v Nursing and Midwifery Council : representation of the NMC at N’s 5-day appeal against refusal of registration in a case involving previous allegations of serious misconduct and against a complex factual background;

Adu v General Medical Council : appeal against a determination of a Fitness to Practice Panel of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service of the GMC that a paediatrician’s name be erased from the medical register on grounds that his fitness to practice was impaired by reason of his deficient professional performance

The SRA, under their new ‘outcomes focused’ approach to regulation, manages all aspects of solicitors’ practices. Issues that have been dealt with by members of chambers include
• Applications to strike off for Client Account irregularities and breach of undertakings
• Failure to pay Assigned Risk Pool premiums following administration
• Stamp Duty Land Tax avoidance schemes
• SRA interventions
• Waiver applications before various SRA committees.

Notable Cases:

Maistry v Solicitors Regulation Authority [2012] EWHC 3041 (Admin): appeal against sanction imposed by the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal

Adu v General Medical Council [2014] EWHC 4080 (Admin), McGowan J: appeal  pursuant to section 40 of the Medical Act 1983 against a determination of a Fitness to Practice Panel of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service of the GMC that a paediatrician’s name be erased from the medical register on grounds that his fitness to practice was impaired by reason of his deficient professional performance

Article: Lack of Integrity at the SDT

Regulatory oversight of the UK accountancy and actuarial professions is conducted by the FRC (the UK’s independent regulator responsible for promoting high quality corporate governance and reporting). The FRC sets codes and standards and also oversees the regulatory activities of the professional accountancy bodies.
Public Interest cases are dealt with by the FRC Conduct Committee, the successor to the Accountants and Actuarial Disciplinary Board [AADB]. Disciplinary hearings are also conducted by the various bodies such as the ICAEW, CIMA, CIPFA, ICIA, ACCA and ICAS.
Gough Square chambers has a wealth of experience in dealing with technical accountancy issues that relate to PLCs and smaller practices, where technical issues often arise. Jeremy Barnett was a board member of the AADB for 4 years between 2009 – 2013.

The real growth in the volume of disciplinary hearings has taken place over the past 5 years. The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service [MPTS] (formerly known as the GMC disciplinary tribunals) is now based in Manchester and often hold 3 Interim Orders panels as well as the various fitness to practice hearings. Members of Gough Square chambers also appear and act as legal assessors at the NMC (the Nursing and Midwifery Council) which have been known to hold as many as 29 concurrent hearings at their various locations in central London, with occasional hearings around the country.

Other disciplinary cases conducted by members of Gough Square chambers include representing Social Workers, Dentists, Osteopaths, Chiropractors, many of which have now been consolidated into the Health and Care Professions Council – the HPC. Members of chambers also represent the Care Quality Commission on issues relating to management failings.

Notable Cases:

Adu v General Medical Council, Administrative Court, McGowan J, October 2014: appeal  pursuant to section 40 of the Medical Act 1983 against a determination of a Fitness to Practice Panel of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service of the GMC that a paediatrician’s name be erased from the medical register on grounds that his fitness to practice was impaired by reason of his deficient professional performance;