Williams v Architects Registration Board (Admin) (20 May 2016)

W, a registered architect, received a criminal conviction for dishonestly making false statements in order to claim jobseeker's allowance over a two-year period. He was absent from an initial Professional Conduct Committee hearing and it was adjourned. He then failed to attend the resumed hearing, having engaged in lengthy correspondence in relation to the proceedings beforehand.

The Committee found that he was guilty of misconduct as a result of his conviction and, because dishonesty was involved, striking off was the only appropriate sanction. Pursuant to section 15 of the Architects' Registration Act 1997, it was ordered that the publication of the finding should subsist for five years. The Committee also ordered that W was prevented from applying for restoration to the register for five years.

W challenged various findings of the Committee on appeal to the Administrative Court, including the order pursuant to section 15, saying that his Article 8 rights were breached because the rehabilitation periods applicable to his case pursuant to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 were only two years, and accordingly the five-year periods specified by the Committee were irrational and wrong.

The Court held that none of W's grounds had merit, finding that his conviction was not spent and the 1974 Act was not in any event binding in disciplinary proceedings. W's Article 8 rights were engaged but, insofar as there was an interference with those rights, it was necessary and proportionate.

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.