The long legal battle between Dr Dominic O’Hooley and the General Dental Council over the ARF has finally concluded following a decision to refuse permission to appeal.

GDPUK, who has been following the 18-month-long legal dispute, reported that Dr O’Hooley’s application to appeal against the decision of the First-Tier Tribunal, that upheld an appeal by the GDC, had been refused by Judge Mr E Mitchell in the Administrative Appeals Chamber.

The background to the case, as explained by GDPUK, is that, in the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite calls by dental professionals to consider a temporary reduction in the ARF, or introduce an emergency Payment By Instalment Scheme, the GDC made a ‘unanimous decision’ not to ‘revisit’ the ARF, which many felt left registrants – particularly dental care professionals – struggling financially.

As it refused temporary help for struggling dental registrants, the GDC ‘controversially’ decided to top up the income of its own furloughed regulatory and administrative staff.

In May 2021, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) instructed the GDC to disclose a copy of an email sent by then GDC Chair Dr William Moyes to colleagues in April 2020 regarding the ARF.

The Information Commissioner’s decision followed Dr O’Hooley’s complaint to the ICO regarding the  GDC’s handling of his original Freedom of Information request, which sought answers on the regulator’s decision-making process regarding its consideration of potential alterations to the ARF.

But in the early summer of 2021, the GDC decided to appeal against the ICO’s demand, and a ‘First-Tier Tribunal’ subsequently allowed the appeal.

Mitchell J is reported to have found that:

“None of the Applicant’s grounds of appeal are arguable and I refuse permission to appeal because the application does not raise any arguable error of law in the FIT’s decision nor any point of law of general public importance.”

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