Professional disciplinary and regulatory law in London Bar
'Widely recognised as a leading chambers in professional discipline', members of 39 Essex Chambers are active for regulators, covering factually and difficult cases in medical and legal contexts. Eleanor Grey QC represented the regulator in R (Kuzmin) v GMC, in which the High Court effectively abolished the right to remain silent in proceedings by finding the tribunal could draw negative influences from a doctor declining to give evidence. In the legal space, Vikram Sachdeva QC successfully represented Amicable, a company which records couples' divorce negotiations and then fills in the court forms, which found that it was not activity regulated by the Legal Services Act. The set has 'lots of talented juniors' – David Bradly, successfully defeated an appeal to the Privy Council in Elefterescu v RCVS.
'A very strong and reputable set', Serjeants' Inn Chambers is 'one of the premier sets for healthcare law and especially defence regulatory work'. Jon Holl-Allen QC represented an orthopaedic surgeon who was suspended for 12 months after performing the wrong kind of knee replacement on a patient and then lying to her as to why revision surgery was required. Angus Moon QC represented a dentist in an appeal against proposed imposed conditions including surprise blood and hair tests. Among the set's juniors, Ranald Davidson represented an anaesthetist who was suspended by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) after claiming sick leave to carry out locum work. While most work comes from the context of health, John Beggs QC is active in Bar Standards Board (BSB) cases.
Alongside its elite criminal practitioners, 2 Hare Court 'has in its membership some of the leading lights of professional discipline – their brand is synonymous with the area'. Medical areas are particularly active, with many of the set's members presenting cases for the General Optical Council (GOC) and defending doctors and dentists. The set, in particular, is praised for its 'excellent junior juniors and senior juniors'. Stephen Brassington successfully represented a heart surgeon who was accused of dishonestly prescribing tablets to his then-partner to control her behaviour, while on the other side of the fence Sarah Przybylska prosecuted two Liverpool vets who performed a caesarian section on a pedigree French Bulldog and stole her puppies. The set includes members who handle work for more esoteric regulators, with Scott Ivill prosecuting for the GOC. Among the set's Silks, Jonathan Laidlaw QC (leading rising star Lewis MacDonald) represented Baker McKenzie's former head of HR, who was acquitted in the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) case centring around former managing partner Gary Senior.
Offering 'great strength in depth, just as in professional negligence', 4 New Square's strength in the professional discipline work is in the white-collar professions. In addition to members being instructed in cases concerning accountants (before the ICAEW and the FRC), surveyors and insolvency practitioners, the set's members are adept at legal regulatory matters: Ben Hubble QC represents the incoming president of the Law Society in Administrative Court proceedings after an attempt at a "private prosecution" before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) was struck out. Helen Evans is also a name to note as she is instructed in high-profile disciplinary matters.
'A very strong set with a range of barristers with high ability', Fountain Court Chambers deploys an 'abundance of talent and depth' in various matters concerning white-collar regulators, with particular involvement in high-profile solicitors and auditors regulation cases. Mark Simpson QC continues to advise the Financial Reporting Council on its investigation into Grant Thornton's 2016 audit of Sports Direct, and Nicholas Medcroft QC is advising the same regulator on its investigations into the demise of contractor Carillion. Several members represented parties acquitted by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) in the Gary Senior case: Patricia Robertson QC and 2020 silk appointment Chloe Carpenter QC represented Baker McKenzie, while Richard Coleman QC represented a partner who was involved in the internal investigation. Another 2020 silk appointment, Edward Levey QC represented the regulator in SRA v Siaw, in which the Administrative Court reversed the tribunal's findings, holding that the respondent had acted dishonesty and struck him off.
QEB Hollis Whiteman 'has a long tradition of presenting cases for healthcare regulators and its members demonstrate the concomitant strength in depth and experience', although, like the set's criminal presence (which positions it well for parallel criminal and regulatory investigations), its members do not exclusively prosecute. Selva Ramasamy QC represents the General Dental Council (GDC) in a case against a self-representing dentist, who facing a lengthy charge sheet, is alleged to have attempted to burgle files from the GDC's solicitors, Blake Morgan LLP. Before the same regulator, Alexandra Felix successfully defended the founder of sports mouthguard manufacturer Opro; the regulator alleged that the fitting of the guards amounted to practising dentistry.
'Very experienced in professional regulatory matters', members of 1 Crown Office Row are primarily active in this space for registrants in the medical space. Richard Booth QC defended a vet who received a suspension for kicking and stamping on a dog that had bitten him. Meanwhile, Andrew Kennedy represented Boots in a General Optical Council (GOC) matter concerning alleged public interest disclosures made by a former employee.
2 Bedford Row is 'a solid set with a good reputation'. In recent instructions of note, Ian Stern QC represented a GP, who was accused of, among other matters, conducting the termination of a pregnancy at a facility not licensed for abortions – there was found to be no case to answer. Timothy Kendal is active in solicitors work, and a number of members of chambers are active in optical matters, primarily on the defence side.
23 Essex Street is 'a really great set', handling amongst other matters some of the most complex work for medical regulators. Tim Grey represented the GMC in a case concerning an alleged sexual assault on a patient during a cancer screening examination, with complex issues of whether it is possible to compel chaperones to give evidence amongst those to be decided; Christopher Hamlet represented the same regulator in a matter concerning a medical academic where the case turned on whether the behaviour was dishonest in the wake of Ivey v Genting.
For some the 'leading set for contentious regulatory work', members of Blackstone Chambers is 'a go-to set for tricky, sensitive or high-profile public laws or litigation', with members instructed in a range of regulatory matters with challenging public law crossovers. Mark Shaw QC represented the regulator in High Court case Beard v General Osteopathic Council concerning the involvement of panel chairs in the examination of witnesses, while Ivan Hare QC and Ravi Mehta represented the British Psychological Society in proceedings concerning a Muslim convert registrant's comments concerning LGBT-inclusive sex education in Birmingham schools. Unled, Iain Steele represented the regulator in R (Lonsdale) v Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman, a judicial review of its decision to reject complaints brought by a former barrister, who herself was sanctioned by the relevant regulator in 2009, against a serving judge.
Brick Court Chambers' members are instructed in a number of regulatory matters concerning solicitors and accountants. Tom Adam QC continues to head a team working with the Financial Reporting Council on its investigations into the demise of Carillion, concerning among other matters its audits by KPMG. Among the set's juniors is Sarah Bousfield, who represents the Solicitors Regulation Authority in matters concerning the collapse of law firm Blavo & Co.
'A first choice set for tricky disciplinary cases with a range of counsel of varying call', Old Square Chambers is active in a number of cases, including defending doctors, and is adept at handling cases crossing over with employment law. In Dr. Jain v University Hospitals South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, Mark Sutton QC appeared in the High Court addressing an issue of whether a trust is required to investigate behaviour leading to a fundamental breakdown in working relationships within a hospital department via its established conduct or capability procedures. Mary O’Rourke QC represents former Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman, who is is accused by the GMC of having ordered banned steroids to be delivered to the Manchester Velodrome for their administration to elite cyclists; leading Nicola Newbegin, O'Rourke QC also represented the appellant in GMC v Sastry, a High Court case (with permission to appeal granted) concerning if an Indian doctor treating local patients there was subject to the GMC's aegis owing to his dual registration in the UK. Unled, Eleena Misra represented a medical professional in a case concerning if facts which led to a criminal trial being terminated as an abuse of process could be the basis of regulatory proceedings.
Members of Outer Temple Chambers – 'a well-regarded set for professional discipline cases' – handle both medical and legal services disciplinary work. James Counsell QC both prosecutes and defends in BTAS cases, while in the medical space Matthew McDonagh represented a haematologist who was convicted of causing the death by dangerous driving in the Isle of Man. The case before the GMC raised arguments about the admissibility of an Isle of Man conviction and the basis of the Judge alone conviction in subsequent.