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GDC fitness to practise rules amendment

The GDC has published amendments to the Council’s Fitness to Practise Rules, which are to come into force on 1 November 2016. The detail is to be found in SI 2016/902, but a summary of the changes is as follows:

Major changes

  • If the Registrar decides following investigation that a complaint or information received by the GDC amounts to an allegation against a registrant, it must be referred to two Case Examiners (one a registered dentist or DCP, the other a lay person). They will exercise the functions of the Investigating Committee and decide whether or not the allegation should be referred to a Practice Committee
  • If Case Examiners decide not to refer an allegation to a Practice Committee, they may instead
    • invite the practitioner to comply with such undertakings as they consider appropriate
    • issue a warning or give advice regarding the registrant’s future conduct, performance and practice
    • issue advice on any issue arising in the course of the investigation to any person involved in that investigation
  • Case Examiners are empowered to review a decision they have made to refer an allegation to a Practice Committee, provided they do so before that Committee has begun to consider it. They may do so on reference back from the Practice Committee, or on the application of the Council, registrant, or maker of the allegation

The continuing role of the Investigating Committee

  • To determine whether or not to refer an allegation to a Practice Committee where the Case Examiners are unable to reach a unanimous decision in relation to it
  • To review, on referral by the Registrar, a previous decision of the Case Examiners that an allegation should not be referred to a Practice Committee. However such a referral can only be made if the Registrar has reason to believe that the previous determination is either materially flawed, or that there is new information which may have led to a different determination and that (in either case) a review is necessary for the protection of the public, the prevention of injustice to the registrant, or otherwise in the public interest. The Registrar should only instigate such a review more than two years after the date of the determination if there are exceptional circumstances
  • The new rules give the Investigating Committee similar powers to the Case Examiners in relation to undertakings, warnings and advice

Finally, as regards any case which is in its early stages, it is worth noting that the amended rules will apply to all cases which have not been referred to the Investigating Committee before 1 November 2016 – and even if a case has been referred to the Investigating Committee but it has not considered it by that date, the allegation will then be referred for determination by Case Examiners.

For more information or guidance, please contact:

Huw Llewellyn-Morgan
T. 029 2034 3035


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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