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GOsC receives outcome of Court of Appeal case

17 December 2021

The Court of Appeal has handed down its judgment in a case brought by the General Osteopathic Council

The Court of Appeal has today published its judgment in the case of GOsC v Wray, a case appealed by the GOsC following a High Court judgment made in December 2020.

The High Court judgment at the end of 2020 followed a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) outcome that was subsequently appealed by the registrant. The GOsC appealed the case following this High Court judgment because, if unchallenged, it had the potential to limit the way in which a PCC hears evidence in cases and would change the way regulators approach registrants who have been ‘conditionally discharged” by the criminal courts.

These were important points of general principle and the GOsC was obliged to seek correction of the High Court judgment because of our remit to act in the public interest.

Leave was granted by the Court of Appeal for this argument to take place on the basis that the apparent errors of the High Court raised points of wider public interest.

In its judgment published today, the Court of Appeal has agreed with the substance of the GOsC arguments that the High Court had been wrong to criticise the way in which the PCC heard the case. Their Lordships underlined the importance of PCC panels seeking information through questioning and set out that the procedure followed by the PCC had not in any way been irregular or unfair to the registrant.

However, overall, the GOsC is deemed to have lost the appeal. This is because the Court of Appeal concluded that the High Court, notwithstanding its errors, had been entitled to form its own view of the conduct that had been admitted by Mr Wray, and to overturn the PCC’s finding that he was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

Matthew Redford, Chief Executive and Registrar said: ‘We have reviewed and reflected on the Court of Appeal judgment and we thank their Lordships for the confirmation that the substance of our appeal was correct, although the High Court judgment was not overturned.

‘The judgment will allow our Professional Conduct Committees to proceed with similar cases in the knowledge that their procedures are correct and that panels are entitled to ask appropriate questions to all parties to a case in order to ensure public protection is maintained.’

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