Okpara v Nursing & Midwifery Council [2016] EWHC 1058 (Admin) (10 May 2016)

O, a nurse, was suspended for six months by a Fitness to Practise Panel, after it found failings in aspects of her professional competence and that she had dishonestly represented that she had competence in those areas of practice. Towards the end of the suspension period a different panel reviewed the suspension.

O applied for the suspension to be extended so that she could properly address the recommendations of the first Panel but the second Panel decided that, in view of the first Panel's findings and O's "reflections" on her conduct, striking off was the only proportionate response to her behaviour.

O appealed on various grounds but the Court held that the substance of her complaint was that the second Panel had refused to extend the suspension period. It was held, however, that such decisions were a matter of discretion and there was no demonstrable error of principle or failure to take account of some material consideration, such as would justify interference by the court. O also claimed breaches of her Article 6 and 8 rights but the court found that there was no breach of Article 6 and that the panel's decision did not interfere with her personal or family life (Article 8), although it might interfere with Protocol 1 Article 1 of the ECHR (protection of property). However, the second panel's decision was not disproportionate.

R (on the application of the Bar Standards Board) v Disciplinary Tribunal of the Council of the Inns of Court [2016] EWCA Civ 478 (24 May 2016)

The Court of Appeal considered how a barrister who had defended herself successfully against disciplinary proceedings brought by the Bar Standards Board should be compensated for her time spent doing so. The Court held that the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) did not apply to such proceedings and, accordingly, the barrister should not have been awarded costs at 'litigant in person rates' prescribed by the CPR. It was held that the best guide to assessing the barrister's costs was the common law and that the barrister in question had been entitled to claim the costs represented by the expenditure of her professional skills. It further held that the tribunal should, accordingly, have assessed the barrister's costs as it saw fit in accordance with its own rules.