The Scottish Court of Session has approved an application by the GMC for an Interim Order extension in GMC v B.

On 26 October 2020 the GMC’s Interim Orders Tribunal (“IOT”) made an interim order of suspension of the respondent’s, referred to as B, registration for a period of 18 months arising from the respondent’s arrest and subsequent detention on remand in relation to allegations that he was involved in preparatory terrorist activities.

That the interim order was reviewed and maintained as an interim order of suspension on 14 April 2021 and on 4 October 2021. At the hearing on 4 October 2021 the IOT took into account that the respondent had been charged with a range of criminal offences.

The IOT reviewed the interim order again on 23 March 2022 and determined that it was necessary to maintain the existing interim order of suspension on the respondent’s registration, which would expire on 25 April 2022. Permission to renew the IOT was granted until 25 April 2023 and this case sought a further 12 month extension to April 2024.

In summary, the GMC submitted that the maintenance of the existing interim order is necessary in the public interest. The petitioner could not commence its investigations until the criminal proceedings against the respondent had concluded.

B opposed the extension on a number of grounds outlined in paragraph 12 of the judgement.

Whilst the court noted that the ongoing suspension is causing the B “hardship, that he is living on state benefits and due to his age may have difficulty in resuming his career after a lengthy suspension”, it ruled that “the length of the suspension has not yet reached the stage where it makes it disproportionate for the suspension to continue.”

The court ultimately ruled that:

“In all the circumstances of the case, I find that a reasonable and properly informed
member of the public would be surprised and offended to learn that the respondent had been permitted to practise whilst under investigation and the subject of these criminal proceedings, and that an extension to the order is proportionate to the nature of the offences and the risk to public confidence in the profession. I am satisfied that it is in the public interest for the suspension order to be extended as sought.”

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