In Ramjam v General Dental Council (GDC), a dentist with over 30 years’ experience appealed against a GDC decision to remove him from the register after he had conducted invasive treatment which caused a patient irreparable damage to her teeth. After hearing expert evidence, the GDC committee found Mr Ramjam had been dishonest and assessed him as an ongoing risk. It decided that his fitness to practise was impaired and he was removed from the register.

Mr Ramjam appealed, arguing that a finding of dishonesty had not been open to the committee, as it did not have a proper basis to come to such a conclusion.

The court held that it could only interfere if there was no reasonable basis for the committee’s decision. The court noted that, as the committee had the advantage of hearing witness and expert evidence, it was best placed to decide the matter. The committee had been in no doubt that Ramjam’s treatment constituted a serious professional error and incompetence, and that a finding of dishonesty was inescapable. Accordingly, the court felt the decision was soundly based and was the only one it could properly have reached.

The court emphasised a reluctance to intervene in regulatory decisions, unless the decision is clearly unreasonable.