Procedure at fitness to practise hearings before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal
Produced in partnership with Andrew Hockton of Serjeants’ Inn Chambers

The following Corporate Crime practice note produced in partnership with Andrew Hockton of Serjeants’ Inn Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Procedure at fitness to practise hearings before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal
  • Procedure before a Medical Practitioners Tribunal
  • Preliminaries
  • Disputed facts
  • No case to answer
  • Case to answer
  • Findings of impairment
  • Duty to give reasons
  • Adjournments

Procedure at fitness to practise hearings before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal

Procedure before a Medical Practitioners Tribunal

The role of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal (MPT) (formerly known as the Fitness to Practise Panel), is to determine whether a practitioner's fitness to practise is impaired and, if so, what sanction should be imposed. See Practice Note: The GMC Investigation Committee.

The procedure at a MPT hearing is governed by the General Medical Council (Fitness to Practise) Rules Order of Council 2004 (GMC Fitness to Practise Rules 2004), SI 2004/2608 the current version of which was amended in 2015.

The GMC Fitness to Practise Rules 2004 provide for a staged approach. It should be noted that in a conduct case there are three main stages in the hearing:

  1. stage 1—the fact-finding stage

  2. stage 2—misconduct/impairment, and

  3. stage 3—sanction

Preliminaries

The tribunal must first hear and consider preliminary legal arguments.

Examples of legal arguments that might be advanced prior to the substantive hearing include:

  1. submissions to stay proceedings on the grounds of abuse of process

  2. applications concerning the exclusion/admission of the press or public from the whole/parts of the hearing

  3. applications to proceed in the absence of a practitioner or a particular witness

  4. applications to amend

The MPT must first hear and consider preliminary legal arguments. Where a tribunal considers any legal arguments, its decision is binding on any subsequent tribunal considering the case, notwithstanding that

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