External legal advice informing GMC decision to appeal MPTS ruling RE Dr Bawa-Garba

Peter Garrett made this Freedom of Information request to General Medical Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear General Medical Council,

In his response to the Change.org petition disagreeing with the decision to appeal the MPTS ruling in the case of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, Mr Charlie Massey writes:
“In each case (like this) we will also seek advice from external lawyers before proceeding.”

Please can you confirm that external legal advice was indeed sought to inform the decision to appeal the ruling in this case. If affirmative, please can you also:
1) State exactly from whom this advice was sought;
2) Provide copies of the advice;
3) Provide copies of any associated correspondence with third parties (redacted if necessary);
4) State how much the advice cost;
5) State whether the approach to external lawyers was approved by Council, and, if so:
6) Provide a copy of minutes of any Council meeting confirming this approval.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Garrett.

FOI, General Medical Council

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FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Mr Garrett

 

Your information request - F18/9418/MM

 

Thank you for your email dated 23 February 2018.

 

How we will consider your request

We’re going to consider your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (FOIA). The FOIA gives us 20 working days to respond, but we’ll come
back to you as soon as we can.

 

Who to contact

Matthew McCoig-Lees will be handling your request. If you have any
questions you can call him on 0161 923 6579 or email him at
[1][email address].

 

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Loredana Cojan

 

Information Access Assistant

[2][email address]

 

0161 240 8189

 

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

 

 

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Matthew McCoig-Lees (0161 923 6579), General Medical Council

Dear Mr Garrett

 

Thank you for your email. I have considered your questions under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 and have answered them below.

 

1) State exactly from whom this advice was sought;

 

Ivan Hare QC of Blackstone Chambers provided the advice and he went onto
represent the GMC at the hearing.

 

2) Provide copies of the advice and;

 

3) Provide copies of any associated correspondence with third parties
(redacted if necessary);

 

The legal advice and associated correspondence, for example instructions,
attracts legal professional privilege and is therefore exempt from
disclosure.

 

4) State how much the advice cost;

 

The advice cost £2,000, excluding VAT.

 

5) State whether the approach to external lawyers was approved by Council,
and, if so:

 

6) Provide a copy of minutes of any Council meeting confirming this
approval.

 

Since 2004 neither the Chair of the GMC nor Council Members has played any
role in individual decisions around fitness to practice investigations, or
whether to appeal against tribunal decisions. As reported by the Health
Service Journal on 6 February 2018, it was our Chief Executive who made
the decision to appeal the determination reached by the Medical
Practitioners Tribunal in June 2017 with regards to the case of Dr Hadiza
Bawa-Garba.  Accordingly, we do not hold any Council meeting minutes which
relates to your query.

 

The exemption

 

The exemption that I believe applies to questions 2 and 3 is listed at
section 42(1) of the FOIA. This is the exemption for information which
carries legal professional privilege. The principle of legal professional
privilege is to safeguard full and frank exchanges between a legal advisor
and their client. This exemption is subject to a public interest test. In
this instance I believe that the public interest lies in maintaining the
exemption rather than disclosing the information.

 

Your right to appeal

 

I'm sorry I couldn’t provide all the information you requested. You can
appeal against this decision to Elizabeth Hiley, Information Access
Manager. If you want to appeal, please set out your reasons and email
[1][email address].

 

You can also appeal to the Information Commissioner, the regulator of the
FOIA – we can provide more details about this if you need them.

 

 

Kind Regards

 

Matt

 

Matthew McCoig-Lees

Information Access Officer

Information Access Team

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

Email: [2][email address]

Website: [3]www.gmc-uk.org

Tel: 0161 923 6579

 

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