Defending Disciplinary Allegations

Professionals sometimes need professional help, often in a crisis, when a complaint is made or an investigation is launched by a regulator or other enforcement agency which may affect their ability to continue to work in their chosen profession.

Our specialist regulatory team has over 50 years’ experience of litigating in professional and student disciplinary hearings, fitness to practise and other regulatory tribunals. 

Recent clients


Our dedicated defence team advises professionals in all aspects of the investigation and adjudication of allegations by regulators and membership organisations, most often in cases concerning health, misconduct and performance or under the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Approved Person, Senior Managers and Certification Regimes.

We provide clear, practical advice to ensure that you understand your options at each stage of the process and to devise a strategy for your defence.  We are rigorous in the approach we take to preparing cases for clients facing disciplinary proceedings, ensuring every possible avenue of challenge or defence is explored and pursued.  We work closely with our clients to ensure that cases are prepared and presented in a manner that will be best understood by a Panel, thereby helping to secure the result most favourable for them.

Unfortunately, some professionals underestimate the significance of their early encounters with the body that is looking to bring a disciplinary allegation against them. All communication in the context of potential litigation may have unintended consequences; it is a common misconception that there is some sort of early, ‘without prejudice’ phase of litigation where professionals can freely engage with their regulators without adverse consequences later on. Many of our clients seek advice immediately after notification of a complaint or impending investigation, recognising that taking advice at the outset is the only way to ensure that their engagement with the regulator is appropriate, lawful and suited to the outcome they wish to achieve.

We understand that proceedings of this nature, with your professional registration in jeopardy, are extremely distressing.  We ensure that the service we provide is flexible, to meet the different imperatives that exist for each of our clients, as well as being compassionate and discrete. Whether you a privately funded or have 3rd party funding through an insurer or another source, we have a range of flexible pricing models to suit our client’s needs.

Some of our regulated clients are also subject to concurrent employment or criminal investigations; we regularly work with lawyers from these teams to ensure that our approach to all matters is aligned, reducing the risk of inconsistent approaches being taken, to ensure the most favourable outcome is achieved.

Recent experience 

Health and social care

  • No further action taken by the Case Examiners of the General Medical Council (GMC) against a psychiatrist facing allegations surrounding the inadequacy of clinical report prepared for a Parole Board hearing.
  • Finding of no case to answer by a panel of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for a nurse accused of inappropriately restraining a patient
  • No further action taken by the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) in a case of alleged breach of patient confidentiality by a psychoanalyst
  • No further action taken by the General Medical Council (GMC) against a consultant surgeon by a panel of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) after admitted allegations of dishonesty (working whilst on sick leave)
  • No further action taken at rule 7 stage against a General Practitioner (GP) in respect of allegations brought by the General Medical Council (GMC) concerning alleged shortcomings in the on line prescription of medication
  • Successful appeal and reinstatement of a student nurse following expulsion from their university degree course
  • Successful representation of a student doctor resulting in them being awarded their medical degree after fitness to practise proceedings were instigated by their medical school
  • Successfully representing a psychoanalyst in proceedings before the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) in allegations concerning lack of professionalism (including at first instance, on appeal and in a compromised agreement after judicial review proceedings were lodged)
  • Successful representation of a psychotherapist in proceedings before the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) accused of breaching professional boundaries, resulting in the case being dismissed
  • Successful representation of a surgeon before the General Medical Council (GMC) for an allegation of dishonesty resulting in no further action being taken at rule 7 stage
  • Finding of no case to answer by a panel of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for a nurse accused of taking controlled drugs for their own use, and dishonesty
  • Representation of a vet before the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) resulting in the continuation of their ability to practise

Financial services

  • Advising on proceedings brought by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) in relation to the misstatement of accounts by a software company
  • Advising on proceedings brought by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) against a board member of a Christmas savings firm for failing to provide adequate information to the board about the financial viability of the company
  • Representing senior public finance accountant in proceedings brought by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA)
  • Representing an audit firm and its audit partner in proceedings brought by the Admissions and Licensing Committee of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Advising a senior broker in a Financial Conduct Authority investigation
  • No further action taken by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) in relation to allegations against an accountant of failure to hold a practising certificate
  • Representing an accountant before the Disciplinary Committee of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)

Professional and legal services

  • Successful representation of a teacher before the Teaching Agency facing allegations of racially motivated unprofessional conduct
  • Acting for senior police officers in disciplinary investigations into their conduct
  • Representation of a licensed conveyancer before the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) facing allegations of dishonesty
  • Representation of a barrister before the disciplinary panel of the Bar Standards Board (BSB) for wide ranging allegations of unprofessional conduct resulting in a no case to answer decision.


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Press Round-Up: Regulatory June 2017

The Performer's List – additional obligations for NHS GPs

A ‘deep-seated attitudinal problem’ could be the difference between a suspension and a strike-off

What is lack of integrity?

The Draft Nursing and Midwifery (Amendment) Order 2017 – a move towards a more modern and efficient regulator

Solicitors acting as McKenzie Friends and unbundling legal services – a cautionary tale

Let's fast-track solicitor discipline

Publishing of adverse findings can be a sufficiently serious sanction

What is the function of a reviewing panel in fitness to practise cases?

Duplication of enforcement

Taking stock of money laundering obligations in light of recent ICAEW Disciplinary decision

‘Dogged and obstinate’ BACP prevented from proceeding to adjudicate on a complaint already disposed of by the UKCP

Adverse employment disciplinary findings do not spell the end of your career

Case Update: High Court remits case back to the General Dental Council’s Professional Conduct Committee to reconsider whether the erasure sanction imposed was proportionate

Case Update: Too little too late? The importance of giving sufficient regard to serious and sustained dishonesty even when there is subsequent remorse and remediation

Case update: Doctor successfully applies to quash a decision of the Assistant Registrar of the General Medical Council (GMC) to review a decision made by the Investigating Committee not to impose a warning

ICAEW takes a dim view of failure to comply with an investigation

Press Round-Up: Regulatory and Professional Discipline – October - November 2015

Case update: Barrister found guilty of threatening to sue his dentist in circumstances which were likely to diminish public confidence in the profession

The correct approach to the GMC considering complaints over 5 years’ old

Police powers: common law and disclosing information

Case Update: Barrister’s appeal against dishonesty finding dismissed after barrister drafted false Grounds of Appeal

Damage limitation: do past indiscretions necessarily affect your career as a professional?

Case Update: High Court makes clear that allegations are not to be amended to meet changing evidence at hearing

Case Update: Opening notes do not fix deficiencies of imprecise allegations, High Court re-iterates

Regulators ask banks for better protection for whistleblowers…but can the Regulators maintain it?

Regulatory Press Round-Up: February 2014

Case Update: R (on the application of Leathley and others) v Visitors to the Inns of Court [2013] EWHC 3097 (Admin)

Case Update: R (on the application of D) and General Medical Council [2013] EWHC 2839

Case Update: R. (on the application of Jackson) v General Medical Council [2013] EWHC 2595 (Admin)

Regulatory Press Round-Up: July 2013

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