Lawyers appointed to strengthen hearing process

Press Release

06 July 2017

More than 70 lawyers have been appointed to chair and assist tribunals where doctors’ fitness to practise has been called into question.

We know tribunals can be very daunting to doctors and believe the recent recruitment of LQCs will manage hearings more effectively, which consequently will reduce the stress on doctors and witnesses.

Dame Caroline Swift

The 72 experienced barristers and solicitors have taken on the roles of Legally Qualified Chairs (LQCs) and Legal Assessors (LA) at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.

The recent recruitment aims to manage hearings more effectively.

LQCs will be part of the tribunal, who make decisions on doctors’ fitness to practise, and will be able to advise the rest of the tribunal on questions of law during hearings.
LAs will be present in hearings where there is a not a LQC.

Dame Caroline Swift, Chair of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service said: “The new LQCs and LAs, who have a range of extensive experience in legal professions, will be an asset to the MPTS.

‘We know tribunals can be very daunting to doctors and believe the recent recruitment of LQCs will manage hearings more effectively, which consequently will reduce the stress on doctors and witnesses.”

Most of the LQCs we have recruited have experience of making decisions in other jurisdictions.

The recruitment drive follows a successful pilot over the past 18 months where LQCs were used in tribunals. Positive feedback was received from parties involved in the pilot and the introduction has seen the average hearing length reduced, with more hearings concluding on or before the scheduled date.

Appointing more legal professionals is one of a number of case management improvements being introduced at the MPTS.

Other changes include providing tribunal members with bundles in advance of hearings to avoid the need for adjourning to allow reading time and holding reviews without the need for a doctor to attend a hearing if both the GMC and the doctor agree on the outcome.

Notes to editors:


The MPTS is the adjudication service in the UK for doctors whose fitness to practise has been called into question.