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Interim orders tribunals - how they work

What they do

Interim orders tribunals decide if a doctor's practice should be restricted while an investigation takes place.

How they work

The General Medical Council (GMC) can refer a case to us while they investigate a complaint about a doctor. They do this if they believe a doctor's practice should be restricted to protect members of the public, or if it's in the doctor's interest.

These hearings are held in private, but a doctor can ask for a public hearing.

Who makes the decisions?

Tribunal members make the decisions. We appoint three tribunal members to each hearing and there must be at least one medical and one non-medical member.

Legal advice

Most hearings will have a legally qualified chair who is part of the tribunal and advises on points of law. Some cases may have a legal assessor who advises the tribunal on points of law, but plays no part in decision making.

Tribunal decisions

The tribunal may suspend or impose conditions on a doctor's registration for up to 18 months.

Each tribunal will refer to our guidance when making a decision. This makes sure there is consistency in the decisions tribunals make.


Reviews must take place within six months of being imposed. After that, reviews will happen at intervals of no more than six months.

An interim order review can run without the attendance of the doctor and the GMC. This is a review 'on the papers'. Both the doctor and the GMC must agree on a proposed outcome for this to happen.