Professional Discipline & Regulatory Prosecutions

How can we help?

We understand the impact that investigations and proceedings can have on our clients' everyday lives. This can go beyond issues of professional reputation and may cause real anxiety and distress. They may have a knock-on effect on your current practice or employment. We will manage your engagement with your regulator in order to obtain the best possible outcome for you and navigate a path through troubled waters.Members of chambers provide a comprehensive service assisting professionals with advice on their regulatory obligations from registration requirements, negotiations with the regulator and all stages of proceedings from interim orders to appeals.

We have substantial experience in acting for registrants of a wide range of regulatory bodies, including:

  • The General Medical Council
  • The Teaching Agency
  • The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
  • The Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • The General Pharmaceutical Council
  • The Health and Care Professions Council
  • The Solicitors Regulation Authority
  • The Financial Conduct Authority (formerly the FSA)
  • The Football Association Disciplinary Tribunal
  • The British Horseracing Authority

Junior members of chambers have taken secondments with regulatory authorities including HCPC, NMC and GDC which gives them a unique insight and sound footing in the practice area.

Advice on Current Legal Developments

Regulatory frameworks are changing with bewildering speed. Regulators seek to ensure that good practice permeates the professional environment. Recent developments include:

  • The Health and Social Care Act - This Act establishes a new super-regulator, bringing together the Healthcare Commission, the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Mental Health Act Commission. In particular, practitioners should be aware that the Act introduces the civil standard of proof across all healthcare regulators;
  • Extension of powers of the Crown Court - consultation following the Fraud Review proposes to amend the legislation governing the legal and financial services professions in order to give the Crown Court the same powers as the professions' regulatory bodies to prevent individuals from practising in these fields;
  • The Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 - in force from October 2008, this Act enables the OFT to prohibit a person from engaging in estate agency work in situations where it suspects fraud. This removes the restriction under the previous legislation that such an order could only be made following a conviction for fraud.
  • Such changes require a better understanding of the role of the professional in the modern workplace. Chambers offers a bespoke continuing professional development service to better manage risk and preserve trust.

We are happy to offer a preliminary consultation without charge to those seeking to use our cost effective Public Access service. We understand that busy professionals may need to contact us outside normal business hours. We are contactable 24/7 for urgent advice and assistance and are able to arrange consultations at weekends and on weekday evenings.

Health & Fire Safety, and Environmental Protection

Members of chambers act for and against the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency, Local Authorities, companies and individuals in these discrete but specialist areas of law. In recognition of our expertise, Drystone Chambers has counsel appointed to the Unified List of Specialist Regulatory Counsel in Health and Safety and Environmental Law and approved counsel to the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.

In health and safety work we act in cases from the most serious offences involving fatalities to non-fatal accidents and technical breaches in all manner of settings including retail environments, restaurants, construction sites and residential homes. We are also able to appear at Inquests and in statutory appeals.

In environmental health matters we act across the full range of offences from acts of pollution and deposits of hazardous waste to fly-tipping and littering. We also act in appeals against Noise Abatement Notices and other statutory notices.

Members of Drystone chambers advise the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and act for the defence in respect of allegations concerning breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. We are able to advise as to as to the sufficiency of due diligence systems and as to the liability of company officers within a corporate structure.

OFCOM

Chambers has a strong history of prosecuting on behalf of the Office of Communications (OFCOM) throughout the United Kingdom. In light of this background we are best placed to offer defence advice and effective representation to both professional and lay clients in relation to this unique and challenging field.

Planning Enforcement

Members of chambers act for Local Planning Authorities, architects, developers and individuals in this specialist area of law.

We are highly experienced in planning enforcement litigation. We appear regularly in the criminal courts in cases covering the spectrum of the offence-creating provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act and associated legislation.

We have conducted cases involving breaches of enforcement, stop and condition notices under the Town and Country Planning Act; demolition or works of alteration to Listed Buildings and buildings in Conservation Areas; control of advertisements infringements; breaches of Tree Preservation Orders and more.

We are able to advise as to the availability or applicability of statutory defences and as to the liability of company officers within a corporate structure.

Our expertise in confiscation perfectly complements this area of law given the significant increase in applications for confiscation being made by local authorities. Frequently we are instructed to appear for both the prosecution and defence in cases that have been committed to the Crown Court under s.70 of the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Whilst our primary expertise is in the criminal arena, we also appear before the Planning Inspectorate and in the High Court on applications for judicial review.

A selection of the cases in which we have appeared appears below:

  • Ali - breach of enforcement notice; confiscation order made in the sum of £1.4 million (the largest such order for planning related offences)
  • Michael Shanly Homes - breaches of Tree Preservation Orders at site of proposed development
  • Piers Rance - prosecution of property developer who demolished house in Conservation Area despite being informed CAC would not be granted. Highest fine on record for offence of this nature
  • Yousaf - breach of enforcement notice; argument as to statutory definition of ‘owner’
  • FL Trading Ltd - prosecution of company and director for carrying out works of alteration to the historic Regal Cinema in Kingston-upon-Thames
  • Barnard Marcus - estate agents’ boards; prohibition on display of advertisements