Intended for healthcare professionals


Keeping silent at GMC hearings could draw “adverse inferences,” says High Court

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 20 August 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5224
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

A longstanding belief that doctors could safely remain silent at medical practitioners tribunal hearings and that the panel would not draw negative conclusions from their decision not to give evidence has been overturned by the High Court.

The court has ruled for the first time that there is no “right to silence” at tribunals and that panels are free to draw “adverse inferences” from the fact that a doctor declines to give evidence.1

Barrister Christopher Geering, writing on the website of 2 Hare Court chambers, described it as “a dramatic new development.” Solicitors Claire Raftery and Chris Dunn of the law firm Clyde & Co wrote in a blog, “This will have immediate implications for …

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