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.
If your regulator brings a case against you
If the SSSC decides to bring a case against you, you will first be served with documents outlining the charges against you and the evidence which the SSSC believes supports its case. You may be expected to respond to these charges in writing although there is no obligation to do so. Particularly where the charges may relate to criminal behaviour, you should be careful what you say to the SSSC.
If the SSSC wishes to bring a case against you, you should:
- Keep to the case timetable as much as possible. You will be informed of a timetable and a date for the hearing. It is important that you do everything possible to keep to this timetable. If you are unable to keep to this timetable, you should notify the SSSC immediately, and outline your reasons why. The SSSC will expect proceedings to take priority over all other professional or social engagements. However in cases of bereavement, medical treatment or another court appearance, the SSSC may agree to amend the timetable. If you do not keep to the timetable then the SSSC may argue that you have failed to cooperate with their investigation. This is something you have a professional obligation to do.
- Gather information to support your case. You will be expected to notify the SSSC of:
- the names and addresses of witnesses you wish to call at the hearing. You should not expect to be able to call someone who is not on that list. If anyone refuses to give evidence on your behalf then you can ask the SSSC to write to them on your behalf to ask them to attend.
- the nature of your defence (i.e. whether you accept or deny each of the charges).
- whether the SSSC has information that could help your defence. If so, you should request it immediately, otherwise it may be too late to do so. While there may be legal reasons for the SSSC being unable to provide some information, you are normally entitled to receive copies all the information they hold.
You will be asked to attend a pre-trial case management hearing which will deal with timetabling, disclosure of documents, admissibility of evidence and challenges to the validity of a charge. You should have legal representation at such a meeting and at all future hearings.
Do you need to speak to a regulatory solicitor?
Thompsons Solicitors is the leading firm of regulatory lawyers in Scotland. We have a dedicated team of employment lawyers who are experts in helping clients who have had their fitness to practice questioned. Our specialist regulatory lawyers will give you a free telephone consultation to discuss your case. Talk to Thompsons today by calling 0800 0891331 and talk things over with one of our experts.