The three stages of a hearing
Stage one - findings of fact
When stage one begins, you may have already admitted some of the facts. However, this stage focuses on any facts that are still in dispute. The burden of proof lies with the GMC – this means that the GMC, which makes the allegation, has to prove that the facts supporting the allegation are true to the satisfaction of the tribunal. You do not have to prove anything.
The tribunal will decide that a fact is proved if it is more likely than not to have happened – this is the civil standard of proof.
Witnesses may be questioned by the GMC’s representative, by you or your representative, and by the tribunal. When the GMC’s representative has finished presenting their evidence, you or your representative will be able to make a submission on whether sufficient evidence has been presented to prove the facts. You or your representative will also be able to present evidence and call witnesses. The legally qualified chair or the legal assessor may advise the tribunal.
Stage two - decision on impairment
Stage three - decision on sanction
Review of the sanction
If the tribunal imposes a sanction of conditions or suspension on your registration, it will usually order a hearing to review your case shortly before the sanction comes to an end. Cases can be reviewed at a review hearing or on the papers if both parties agree on the proposed outcome.
On the papers means without your or the GMC’s attendance. Most reviews on the papers will be carried out by tribunal chairs, although full tribunals can also do so. If the chair or tribunal is content with the agreed outcome, they will make an order on the agreed terms. The chair or tribunal may decide that a full review hearing should take place, if they consider the proposed outcome to be insufficient to protect the public or they don’t have enough information to make a decision.
At the review hearing, the tribunal will consider whether your fitness to practise is still impaired and whether any further action needs to be taken against your registration. If it decides that your fitness to practise is no longer impaired, the suspension or conditions will be lifted immediately.
For more information on the review on the papers process see the Information for unrepresented doctors section of our website.