Submitting an appeal to the High Court: Advice for healthcare professionals
February 11, 2016
The decisions your regulator makes towards your fitness to practise can be detrimental towards both your career as a healthcare professional and your personal life. If you believe that the sanction you received was disproportionate, or you feel you have a negative determination by your regulator relating to your fitness to practise, then you are able to lodge an appeal to the High Court.
Am I eligible to submit a High Court appeal?
You can appeal against most decisions made by a regulator to the High Court. In the outcome letter, sent by the regulator, you should receive information about your right of appeal and the deadline for submitting an appeal.
What time frame am I given to submit a High Court appeal?
Any appeal made by a healthcare professional against the regulator should be submitted to the High Court within 28 days. The deadline is strictly set to 28 days so you will be unable to appeal after this period.
Are there exceptions to the 28 day deadline?
The Judge has the right to decline appeals made to the High Court after the 28 day window. However, this could be changed if exceptional circumstances exist (though this expression is tightly interpreted). Common excuses for late appeals, including not being able to raise funds or locate a specialist lawyer, are highly unlikely to be accepted by the Judge as ‘exceptional circumstances’.
Any appeals outside of the timeframe need to clearly address the reasons for the delay and should be sent with clear evidence to support the claim.
Should I appeal to the High Court?
Before choosing to submit a High Court appeal, it is recommended that you seek professional legal advice. Appeals made by healthcare professionals will only be successful if the claims made are substantial enough to be pursued by the High Court. Judges will not intercept with decisions made by regulators unless there’s a viable reason to do so.
What challenges might I face from submitting a High Court appeal?
Submitting a High Court appeal can be a lengthy process that requires a significant amount of time and effort from both the healthcare professional and the law professional you choose to work with. Court fees will also be required along with the application.
The losing party typically pays for the costs of the winning party once the High Court appeal has been investigated and a decision has been made. The regulator’s legal fees are likely to total to several thousands of pounds so it is essential that you seek professional legal support to assess your claim before it is lodged. This will enable you to understand whether your claim could be successful or cost you thousands of pounds in legal fees for both parties.
What does my lawyer need to advise me on the merits of my appeal?
Your lawyer will be required to see the determination of the panel and the supporting documents that were presented before them. They may also need to see any transcripts of the hearing that could support your appeal.
Due to the complexity of the work carried out by your lawyer and the time needed to advise you on the merits of your appeal, it is recommended to seek legal advice as soon as possible before submitting a High Court appeal.
How do I submit a High Court appeal?
Ensure the following is covered when submitting an appeal to the High Court in the given 28 day period:
- Complete an N161 Form (this is the application form for the appeal);
- Payment of £480 for the court fee (exact amount may vary);
- You need to prepare detailed grounds of appeal. Ensure your lawyer prepares these if one is involved;
- A paginated and indexed group of documents to support the appeal. This should include the determination you are appealing against, transcripts of the hearing, the original bundle of any appropriate case law, plus any further documentation being relied upon.
- A skeleton argument including the grounds of appeal, detailed reasons for the appeal and any law relied on. This argument should cross reference the paginated bundle and needs to be submitted within 14 days of the application being lodged.
Can someone help me lodge my High Court appeal?
Yes. Our team of experienced lawyers at the MedicAssistanceScheme regularly advise healthcare professionals regarding the steps to submitting a High Court appeal. We are also experienced in presenting High Court appeals and would be more than happy to assist you with your case.
If you are considering lodging an appeal to the High Court, please get in touch with us today for advice.