Dr S, who was suspended from the register after his fitness to practise was found impaired by reason of misconduct, had his general medical services contract terminated by the Primary Care Trust (PCT). Dr S went through the dispute resolution process contained in the contract and the NHS Litigation Authority,( through the Family Health Service Appeals Unit (FHSAU)), found that the PCT was entitled to terminate the contract.
Dr S applied for permission to seek judicial review of the NHS Litigation Authority and for interim relief. Among the grounds on which Dr S relied were arguments that he had been denied his right under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights to a fair hearing. Silber J rejected this submission for three reasons:
- the availability of judicial review made up for any technical shortfall in the fairness of the earlier proceedings;
- the dispute resolution process was entirely voluntary and was a process from which Dr S had benefited as he had achieved a suspension of the PCT's notice of termination of his contract; and
- the appeal before the FHSAU had been an oral hearing at which both parties had been legally represented and witnesses called and questioned.
Dr S's submission that the decision of the FHSAU was irrational or wrong in law was also rejected.
The court dismissed the application for both judical review and interim relief and held that the decisions made by the PCT and FHSAU were reasonable and not the result of any procedural unfairness.