Michael Balmer, specialist solicitor at Cartwright
King Solicitors outlines the regulatory procedure when summoned to
a disciplinary proceeding by a regulatory body.
Most, if not all, professions have their own regulatory body.
Examples include the General Medical Council,
The Healthcare Professionals Council, The Royal Institute of
Chartered Surveyors and Chartered Institute of Insurance
There are many regulatory bodies in the UK whose primary role is
the fitness to practice of their members and whose duty is to
uphold public confidence in their respective profession. They will
each have a policy governing its members and outlining the
sanctions available to those who do not comply.
If a member of a regulatory body does not act in line with the
standards expected, they could face disciplinary proceedings, and
ultimately could be prohibited from working in their chosen field
The procedure involved will be largely the same for each
regulatory body and is not that dissimilar to criminal proceedings:
there will be an investigation and fact finding exercise undertaken
by the regulator. There will usually be expert evidence adduced to
assist the regulator to come to its determination. Unlike criminal
proceedings, the respondent will be entitled to engage with the
regulator and make written representations during the investigation
process. Taking legal advice at an early stage is crucial.
Once the investigation is complete, an officer of the regulator
will decide whether the matter should be dealt with by
administratively or referred to a disciplinary panel if the matter
warrants a heavier penalty.
A disciplinary hearing will take place before a panel made up of
members of the regulatory body. The regulator will be legally
represented by a solicitor or barrister who will present its case.
The respondent will usually be entitled to be legally represented
as well. If the allegations are denied, live evidence will be
called and the panel will be required to decide if the allegations
are made out or not. If the allegations are accepted, then the
respondent will be entitled to make representations and
The regulator will have sanctions available, ranging from
written warning or requiring undertakings as to future conduct, to
being fined or struck off an approved list of practitioners. In the
worst cases, an individual could be prohibited from working in
their chosen field.
The consequences can be very serious to an individual. Not only
are there the financial consequences of losing a job, but also the
stigma of being deemed unfit to practice in your chosen career by
your peers. In the most extreme cases, the prohibition can be
The importance of seeking representation at an early stage
cannot be overstated. Cartwright King is uniquely placed to utilise
its nationwide presence and expertise to advice on any type of
regulatory proceedings. Contact one of our Regulatory team
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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