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How the investigation and hearing takes place depends on the Regulator. Although there are general principles which are applicable to all regulators, each regulator has their own set of procedural rules. It is therefore important to take advice as soon as possible if any concerns are raised about your fitness to practice. The following sets out advice in respect of SSSC cases.  

Following the conclusion of the SSSC’s investigation, they will decide whether or not there is a case to answer. If there is no case to answer, then no further action shall be taken. If there is a case to answer, then the matter will be escalated to a final Hearing.

The Hearing is split into three stages:-

  • Findings of fact;
  • Findings of whether your fitness to practice is impaired; and
  • Decision on sanction.

If the facts are disputed then evidence can be led from witnesses who may refer to documentation in the course of their evidence. You will require to give evidence and may be asked questions by the SSSC Case Presenter and the Panel. After hearing all of the evidence, the Panel will decide if the facts have been proven. If they have, the Panel will then move on to consider if your fitness to practice is impaired. If the Panel determines that your fitness to practice is impaired, then they shall proceed to decide sanction.

Sanctions that can be imposed by your regulator

There are various sanctions that can be imposed by your regulator some of which are more significant than others.

The panel can :-

  • take no further action (only in exceptional circumstances);
  • impose a warning for up to five years;
  • impose a condition(s);
  • impose a warning and condition(s);
  • impose a suspension order for up to two years;
  • impose a suspension order and condition(s); or
  • impose a removal order.

The sanctions which can be imposed are very serious, and you can be prevented from continuing to practice in your profession. This can have serious, wide reaching consequences. If you are facing fitness to practice allegations, you should therefore obtain legal advice as soon as possible.

Can The SSSC’s Decision Be Appealed?

It is possible to appeal against a SSSC decision to Dundee Sheriff Court. This must be done within 14 days of receipt of the Notice of the Decision.  There are, however, very few grounds of appeal against a SSSC decision. The SSSC are essentially a fact finding body, and the Court can be reluctant to interfere with findings of fact, therefore the SSSC has a considerable amount of discretion. It is therefore important to get legal advice as soon as possible.

Regulatory lawyers you can trust

Our highly experienced employment lawyers have the knowledge, experience and dedication in advising clients about their regulatory hearing.  Our lawyers are sympathetic and approachable and will talk you through your options, free of charge with no obligation. 

Worried about your career?  Talk to Thompsons today by calling 0800 089 1331 and chat things through with our experts.

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