Information for self-represented doctors

We understand that if you're a doctor who has chosen to represent yourself at a medical practitioners tribunal hearing, the process can be daunting.

To make things easier we've launched a range of guides to help you understand what to expect, how to prepare and to support you on the day.   

We also offer a telephone information service for doctors.  

Case management procedure

This procedure enables you, the MPTS and the GMC to schedule and set a timetable for the preparation of your medical practitioners tribunal hearing. Participation in the procedure is voluntary. However we strongly recommend that you take part.

Case management procedure (pdf)     

A tribunal's powers to draw adverse inferences and refuse to admit evidence

In rare circumstances, a medical practitioners tribunal can draw an adverse inference or refuse to admit evidence that you or the GMC wish to submit.

Adverse inferences and refusal to admit evidence (pdf)

A tribunal's power to make a costs award

If a costs award is an order made by a medical practitioners tribunal one party (either you or the General Medical Council (GMC) must pay some of the other party’s costs.

Costs awards (pdf)

Representation and legal advice

You can be represented by a solicitor, suitable person or you can represent yourself at a hearing. You can also access information and support services that could help you before, during and after your hearing.

Representation and legal advice (pdf)

Non-legal support

There are several sources of non-legal assistance available including the Doctor Support Service, the Hearings procedure telephone information service, using a McKenzie friend, or having a note taker at the hearing.

Non-legal support (pdf)

Disclosing written evidence

Both you and the GMC are likely to have written evidence that you want to give to the tribunal. The tribunal will expect you both to disclose (ie share) documents with each other in good time before the hearing and in compliance with any case manager directions (see Case management procedure, above).

Introducing new written evidence shortly before or on the day of the hearing may disrupt the hearing timetable and so it is important – and in your best interests – to make sure that you disclose evidence well before the hearing.

Disclosing written evidence (pdf)

Expert evidence

Expert evidence is the independent opinion provided by an expert about the issues relevant to your case. This guidance tells you in what circumstances an expert witness might be called, what goes into their report and whether you might need to call one yourself.

Expert evidence (pdf)

Making admissions

When you agree with some or all of the alleged facts set out in the allegation made against you, this is called an admission. You can make an admission by telling the GMC before the hearing, or the tribunal at the start of your hearing.

Making admissions (pdf)

Postponing your hearing

If you think it isn’t possible for your medical practitioners tribunal hearing to go ahead on the scheduled dates, you need to apply in writing (by letter or by email) to the MPTS, to postpone your hearing. Applications should be submitted at the earliest opportunity to the Operations Listings team.

Postponing your hearing (pdf)

Making a submission to the tribunal

During the hearing, you will be given the opportunity to present your case for consideration by the tribunal – this is called a submission. Information about opening and closing, and oral and written submissions are provided in this guidance.

Making a submission to the tribunal (pdf)

Creating a skeleton argument

A skeleton argument is a document that sets out the main points you want to make to the tribunal in support of an application you are making. Read our guidance on the best approach to writing a skeleton argument.

Creating a skeleton argument (pdf)

Cross examination

At a hearing you can question witnesses that the GMC call to the hearing. This is usually referred to as cross examination. This guidance provides advice on how to cross examine a witness, and what to expect if you are cross examined yourself.

Cross examination (pdf)

Adjourning your hearing

Both you and the GMC can apply to have your hearing adjourned. An adjournment application can be made to the tribunal for the hearing to be temporarily stopped for a period of time, for example, 30 minutes or more, half a day or to another day. Find out in what circumstances you can apply, and at what stages during the hearing. 

Adjourning your hearing (pdf)

Reviews on the papers

The Medical Act and the GMC (Fitness to Practise) Rules allow cases to be reviewed without the need for you or the GMC to attend a hearing. We call this a review on the papers – its aim is to help you avoid the stress and inconvenience of attending a hearing in person.

Reviews on the papers (pdf)

Publishing hearing decisions

We have a statutory duty to publish a range of decisions including those made by medical practitioners tribunals and interim orders tribunals. Find out what information we publish, where we publish it and why.

Publishing hearing decisions (pdf)