MPT Tribunals are Inquisitorial [GMC Law]

GMC Tribunal Proceedings are Inquisitorial
MPT Hearings are Inquisitorial

In General Medical Council v Spackman [1943] AC 627, the House of Lords held that the GMC hearing process is inquisitorial in nature, in that the tribunal has the right to investigate allegations in the way they see fit. Viscount Simon LC stated (at 636):

“[The tribunal] is not required to conduct itself as a court. Its members may usefully bear in mind the language of Lord Loreburn LC in Board of Education v. Rice [1911] AC 179, 182, where, dealing with the decision of an administrative body the Lord Chancellor said that ‘they must act in good faith and fairly listen to both sides, for that is the duty lying upon everyone who decides anything. But I do not think they are bound to treat such a question as though it were a trial … They can obtain information in any way they think best, always giving a fair opportunity to those who are parties in the controversy for correcting or contradicting any relevant statement prejudicial to their view.'”

This was recently confirmed in Towuaghantse v General Medical Council (Rev 2) [2021] EWHC 681 (Admin).

How the Inquisitorial Process Operates:

At the tribunal hearing, the GMC brings the case against the doctor, and there is an adversarial element, with opposing parties – the GMC and the doctor. Witnesses are called, statements and exhibits referred to, and submissions are made. The defence questions and challenges the witnesses called by the GMC, where necessary, and the defence in turn calls their own witness (and documentary) evidence, which the GMC has a right to challenge. Points of law are determined by the tribunal. The way the tribunal conducts the inquisition must be fair to the parties.

For advice and guidance in GMC cases, call Doctors Defence Service on 0800 10 88 739