The High Court has considered again the applicability of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal) in the context of disciplinary proceedings. In R (Puri) v Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the High Court found that, in circumstances where a consultant urologist was at risk of dismissal for bullying behaviour and inappropriate contact with potential witnesses, Article 6 did not apply since Mr Puri was not at risk of losing the right to practise his profession. His ability to work again as a urologist would not be impaired by any dismissal. The key test was whether the outcome of disciplinary proceedings would have ‘a substantial influence or effect’ on his right to practise and this test was not satisfied.
Mr Puri had complained that the composition of the internal appeal panel would prejudice the outcome since it did not contain any members from outside the Trust. The High Court held that, in any event, Mr Puri had failed to establish that the composition of the panel was not ‘independent or impartial’ and there was no need for members of the panel to come from outside the Trust. The High Court also disposed of Mr Puri’s claim that the disciplinary proceedings affected his right to reputation. It held that the law recognises no general right to a good reputation.