Following a 6-day hearing in his absence, the Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal found the GMC’s case proven against the Appellant and imposed a sanction of erasure from the register. Catherine accepted instructions from Advocate to urgently draft Grounds of Appeal and a Skeleton Argument on a pro bono basis, in an Appeal to the High Court under s40 of the Medical Act 1983. The Grounds included the refusal of the Appellant’s requests for an adjournment, proceeding in his absence, and having determined that someone seeking to represent the Appellant at the hearing could not also be his witness, the MPT declining to hear that person in either capacity. The Grounds of Appeal further set out the Appellant’s defence to the substantive allegations. Jeremy McKeown advised on witness evidence in support of the Appeal.
The Appeal was listed for a hearing in the High Court. Following service of a bundle of documents in advance of the hearing, the GMC notified the Court and the Appellant they would not contest the appeal. The case has now been remitted to the MPT for further directions/hearing. The Appellant was awarded his costs by consent, including £9,000 pro bono costs to the Access to Justice Foundation.
The case is a reminder to seek pro bono costs orders in appropriate cases https://atjf.org.uk/pro-bono-costs-orders. Whilst on the facts of this case, the pro bono costs order related to the Appeal in the High Court, it is worth noting that since 28 June 2022, pro bono costs orders now extend to Tribunals.
Catherine Peck, leading Tim Goodwin and Jeremy McKeown, was instructed on a pro bono basis by Advocate and clerked by Jamie Tucker of 12KBW.
Advocate is the Bar’s pro bono charity. It matches barristers, willing to donate their time and expertise pro bono in deserving cases, to members of the public who are unable to obtain legal aid and cannot afford to pay.