In the case of Vaidya v General Medical Council, the Queen’s Bench Division, on an appeal from Dr Vaidya, has upheld a High Court general civil restraint order (the order) against Dr Vaidya made on 25 June 2010.
A general civil restraint order made by a High Court judge restrains the litigant from issuing any proceedings or making any application in the High Court or County Court without the permission of the judge making the order. Such an order will be made only if an extended civil restraint order will not suffice. An extended order restrains issue of proceedings or an application connected with the proceedings in which the order was made.
Dr Vaidya was a registered medical practitioner who was found guilty of serious professional misconduct by a Fitness to Practise Panel (FPP) of the General Medical Council (GMC) on 14 September 2006. The FPP determined that his name was to be erased from the medical register. Dr Vaidya then started a campaign of appeals against the decision, and other litigation against various defendants, including individuals, which resulted in the GMC making an application for the order to prevent Dr Vaidya issuing further proceedings against them without leave of the court.
Dr Vaidya was out of the country when the order was originally made. He claimed that he was unaware of the GMC’s application for an order before he left, and that his absence meant that the hearing was contrary to his rights under Article 6(1). Dr Vaidya also contested that the order itself was disproportionate.
It was the GMC's case that the judge was informed of Dr Vaidya's position, and that Dr Vaidya was aware that the GMC intended to apply for the order before he left the country. The judge was entitled to proceed in Dr Vaidya's absence and his article 6 rights were fully protected by the hearing before the court. The GMC claimed that the order was proportionate.
Prior to the order, Dr Vaidya was warned of the consequences of issuing proceedings without merit against a number of defendants, including the GMC. Despite these warnings, Dr Vaidya was not deterred, and continued to issue proceedings objecting to his erasure from the medical register. The judge therefore decided that it was clear to Dr Vaidya that the GMC intended to apply for the order, although he did not know when the hearing for this would be held. This was further supported by an exchange of emails between the parties in mid-May, when the GMC indicated that an application for the order would be listed for 25 June 2010.
The judge, in light of the history of this case and the Dr Vaidya’s conduct, upheld the order so as to protect the defendants, some of which were individuals, from being served with further proceedings by Dr Vaidya.