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What happens if the case is referred to a hearing?
If a panel decides that there is a case to answer, we will arrange for the case to be heard at a hearing.
The case will be heard by either:
- a panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee (for cases about misconduct, lack of competence, convictions or cautions, determinations by another regulator and barring decisions);
- a panel of the Health Committee (for cases where the health of the registrant may be affecting their ability to practise); or
- another panel of the Investigating Committee (for cases where an entry to the Register may have been gained fraudulently or incorrectly).
We will usually ask solicitors to act for us and they will take witness statements if these are needed. We will give you the details of the solicitors who will act for us and they will contact you or members of your staff if they need to speak to you to take a formal statement.
It can sometimes take some time to reach a hearing. It is difficult for us to provide specific guidance on timings since each case is different. The case manager will write to you regularly and keep you informed of the progress of the case.
Witness support and giving evidence
If we ask you to provide a witness statement, we may also need you to come to the hearing and give evidence. We provide support to witnesses and have a specific person you can contact in the Fitness to Practise Department. If you are asked to give evidence at the hearing, we will give you a brochure called Information for witnesses. You can also download this publication by clicking here.
If there are a number of witnesses from the same place of employment, or any witnesses have been assessed as vulnerable, we try to hold the hearing at a convenient place for everyone concerned. This is to reduce, as far as possible, any disruption and ensures that the best possible evidence can be given.
Very occasionally a witness may refuse to come to a hearing. The panel can order that witness to give evidence. It is a criminal offence to ignore this order. Please contact our Fitness to Practise Department if you have any questions or concerns about this.
Where will the hearing be held?
Hearings are held in the country where the registrant lives. If their registered address is outside the UK, the hearing will be held in London.
In most cases, hearings for registrants who have a registered address in England are held at our offices in Kennington (in South London). However, in some circumstances the hearing may be held outside of London.
Setting the hearing date
If you need to come to the hearing as a witness, we will try to contact you to discuss when you can attend a hearing. We will then send you details of when and where the hearing will take place.
Four weeks before the date of the hearing, we will publish on our website the date of the hearing and the allegation against the registrant. This information is put on our website as the hearings are held in public. We do not put the information on the website more than four weeks before the hearing date to make sure we are acting fairly and balancing the rights of the registrant with our role of protecting the public.
More information about hearings is available by clicking here.
Information for employers and managers: The fitness to practise processAdobe PDF Document120kb
Information for witnessesAdobe PDF Document156kb
Fitness to practise referral form - EmployersMicrosoft Word Document101kb