Professional disciplinary and regulatory law in London Bar
39 Essex Chambers is 'a very user-friendly set', especially noted for its 'good strength in depth in regulatory and disciplinary work at silk level'. Andrew Tabachnik QC represented the Law Society in the high-profile regulatory investigation into Malik Law Chambers, an immigration law firm, and the its managers, Dr Akbar Ali Malik and Imtiaz Ali, after the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) alleged dishonesty in connection with the business and failure to comply with the SRA Principles 2011; the firm was shut down. Also of note, Fenella Morris QC acted for one of the interveners in Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba's appeal against being struck off the medical register following a conviction for gross negligence manslaughter. Alison Foster QC has become a High Court judge in the Queen’s Bench Division.
Viewed as 'a very strong set in the professional disciplinary arena', Serjeants' Inn Chambers has a prominent reputation for its members' capabilities in the medical sector, as well as police law (see our Police law (defendant) section for more information and rankings). Recent instructions of note saw Anthony Haycroft represent a biomedical scientist before the Health and Care Professions Council over charges of incorrect labelling of blood samples, which had potential risks of causing harm to patients; he received a year-long conditions of practice order.
2 Hare Court is 'a very strong set' with 'flair', and houses an 'excellent group of barristers with extensive experience in professional disciplinary work'. Healthcare is a core sector of expertise for the set, with members handling work for doctors, dentists, opticians, and osteopaths, and has also been active in the veterinary space. Andrew Colman defended a practitioner of Vaser liposelection (a form of liposuction) against 28 allegations – divided into over 100 sub-heads – of misconduct. However, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service tribunal found only six of the sub-heads amounted to misconduct, and only two to have a basis of impaired fitness to practise; the tribunal decided to take no action by way of sanction. Also of note, Tom Day acted for the General Optical Council in a misconduct case brought against an optometrist accused of harassment; the defendant was erased from the register. In March 2019 Andrew Hurst was appointed to the circuit bench.
At 4 New Square, which is notably strong in handling work from the accountancy, financial, legal, and actuarial professions, Jamie Smith QC represented Deloitte in a high-profile judicial review concerning R (Lewin) v FRC and issues around the practice of 'Maxwellisation', which concerned whether third parties impacted by regulatory decisions can be permitted to respond to adverse comments about them prior publication, thereby limiting potential reputational damage. Before the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, Scott Allen successfully defended an accountant accused of dishonesty. The case raised important issues about the way in which dishonesty must be alleged and proven before disciplinary tribunals.
Noted for its 'fantastic strength in depth,' Fountain Court Chambers’ barristers are 'very highly regarded' by instructing solicitors and 'regularly lead on significant regulatory investigations and prosecutions'. Richard Coleman QC and Chloe Carpenter successfully acted for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) before the Court of Appeal concerning two appeals heard together, SRA v Malins and Wingate and Evans v SRA. The core issue in question was the inter-relationship between honesty and integrity for the purpose of professional codes of conduct; the court ruled that the qualities were not indistinguishable. Meanwhile, James McClelland represented the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) in resisting an injunction application made by Taveta Investments, owned by Sir Philip Green, which sought to prevent the FRC from publishing the results of its investigation into PwC's audit of BHS' accounts prior to the retailer's collapse.
QEB Hollis Whiteman is 'very strong in professional discipline and regulation', according to clients who are made up of both regulators and professionals in the medical, dental, legal, and accountancy fields, among other areas. In one recent highlight, Paul Raudnitz prosecuted a General Medical Council fitness to practise case against a doctor who had been convicted of possessing child pornography; the doctor was removed from the register.
Medical regulation instructions form the backbone of 1 CROWN OFFICE ROW's professional disciplinary practice. In one representative instruction, Clodagh Bradley QC successfully defended an osteopath against allegations of unacceptable professional conduct after the defendant performed a cranial technique on a four-week-old baby. Also of note, Richard Smith acted for Dr Divyang Shukla, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon accused of sexual assault. The Medical Practitioners Tribunal did not find the charges proved.
2 Bedford Row’s members represent doctors, optometrists, and dentists, among other healthcare professionals, before their relevant regulatory body. Before the General Optical Council, Ian Stern QC is representing Honey Rose, an optometrist who was formerly convicted of gross negligence manslaughter following the death of an eight-year-old boy after the defendant failed to spot a serious eye condition during a routine check-up; Rose's criminal conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal in 2017 on the basis of reasonable foreseeability in cases of gross negligence manslaughter.
At 23 Essex Street, Tim Grey successfully represented the General Dental Council (GDC) in a case brought against Steven Bal Sharma, a high-profile UK dentist, concerning alleged false advertising of the defendant's dental services and charges of misconduct relating to deficient dental work; Sharma was erased from the GDC's register in January 2019. Elsewhere, Christopher Hamlet successful prosecution of a chiropractor over claims of unacceptable conduct. Matthew Kewley left the set in August 2018 to become an assistant coroner.
Blackstone Chambers' members provide 'solid and pragmatic advice' across a wide spectrum of regulatory matters, according to instructing solicitors; the set's client base includes the General Medical Council, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and the Financial Reporting Council. In one instruction of note, Mark Shaw QC acted for the General Osteopathic Council in a statutory appeal brought by an osteopath against the decision of the Professional Conduct Committee to impose conditions of practice on the appellant's registration, citing alleged undue interference on the part of the panelists.
Charter Chambers' 'very experienced' members are well known for their strong relationship with the Royal College of Nursing and a solid track record in nursing disciplinary cases; however, the group is also adept in handling instructions from the dental, pharmaceutical, and optical professional, among other areas. Of note, Laura Bayley successfully defended a regional manager of a group of care homes against nine charges of alleged failure to report and investigate allegations of abuse; the defendant was acquitted on submissions of no case to answer on all charges.
At Old Square Chambers, Mary O’Rourke QC represented Dr Shekhar Chandra in an appeal brought by the General Medical Council before the Court of Appeal regarding a Medical Practitioners Tribunal's decision to restore Dr Chandra to the medical register after he was struck off for misconduct. The case concerned whether the test for restoring doctors to the register was parallel to the test for restoring solicitors, although the test must still focus on the overriding objective to protect, promote and maintain the public's health and safety. In July 2019, after the matter was remitted to tribunal, the tribunal reaffirmed the decision to restore Dr Chandra to the register.
Outer Temple Chambers' members handle a broad range of disciplinary and regulatory work, with a core strength in the healthcare, sport, legal services, and transport sectors. In one representative instruction, Fiona Horlick QC is defending a GP against over 50 charges of dishonesty, including disguising the prescription of opiates to vulnerable patients.