Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Eighth Report


APPENDIX 4

Memorandum by the Privy Council Office

General Chiropractic Council (Professional Conduct Committee) Rules
Order of Council 2000 (S.I. 2000/3290)
General Chiropractic Council (Health Committee) Rules
Order of Council 2000 (S.I. 2000/3291)

 The Joint Committee has asked for a Memorandum on the following points:

(1)  Explain the effect of rule 16(2) in the Schedule to each instrument and why, given its length and complexity, it was not subdivided to assist the reader.

(2)  Rule 16(2) in the Schedule to S.I. 2000/3290 requires the Professional Conduct Committee to give the chiropractor (if he has not indicated within the 28 day period mentioned in the rule 15(2)(b) that he wishes to appear before the Committee and that he does not appear even though requested to do so) an opportunity to make representations before the expiry of that period or (if later) before the expiry of 14 days beginning with the day on which certain documents were served on him. Explain how this provision is intended to operate. It is intended (as the words in parentheses seem to imply) that any communication from the Committee informing the chiropractor of his right to make representations is to be given after the 28 day period? If so, explain the circumstances in which the chiropractor may make representations before the expiry of that period. Corresponding question in relation to rule 16(2) in the Schedule to S.I. 2000/3291.

Introduction

1. The General Chiropractic Council acknowledges that given the complexity of rule 16(2) of the respective Rules, it would have benefited from being sub-divided. This would have helped illuminated and so avoid the difficulty of tenses and issues of construction mentioned below.

S.I. 2000/3290

2. The main purpose of rule 16(2) of the General Chiropractic Council (Professional Conduct Committee) Rules 2000 is to ensure that a chiropractor has an opportunity to make his or her views on any particular evidence known to the Professional Conduct Committee, before the Committee decides to take steps under section 22(7) or (9) of the Chiropractors Act 1994 based on that evidence.

3. The chiropractor has a separate right to appear before the Committee, which is conferred by section 22(11) of the Act and is applied by rule 15(2)(b) of those Rules. Rule 15(2)(b) enables a chiropractor, within 28 days of receiving notice under rule 15(2) ("the 28 day period"), to notify the Registrar in writing that he wishes to appear before the Committee.

4. Rule 15(4) requires the Registrar, when giving notice under rule 15(2) to the chiropractor concerned, to send a copy of any relevant reports and other documents which the Committee has considered, and which are material to its proposal to act under section 22(7) or (9) of the Act.

5. The way in which rule 16(2) is intended to operate is as follows—

      (a)  if the chiropractor has given notice that he or she wishes to appear, the chiropractor will be able to comment on the documents at the hearing, having received them in advance under rule 15(4) or subsequently. The Committee will then be entitled to take account of the documents. (If the chiropractor did not appear at the hearing, consideration would be given under rule 16(9)(c) as to whether it was appropriate to continue. Only if satisfied that it was appropriate would the Committee hear the case without having had the chiropractor's comments. The Committee would adjourn the hearing if it thought it right to do so).

      (b)  If the chiropractor does not make a request to appear but he or she appears on the motion of the Committee under rule 16(1), that appearance (with the supplying of the documents) will be sufficient compliance with the requirement to give the opportunity to comment on the other documents.

      (c)  If the chiropractor does not indicate that he or she wishes to appear (by not responding within the 28 day period, or by indicating that no appearance is wanted) and does not appear on a motion of the Committee under rule 16(1), then the Committee must check that the chiropractor has been given the opportunity to make written representations within the 28 day period pursuant to rule 15(2)(c), or if later (because further documents were sent after the rule 15(2) notice was served0 within the period of 14 days beginning with the day on which the documents were served on him. Having satisfied itself that that opportunity has been given, the Committee may take account of the documents in reaching its decision.

6. The words "and he does not appear under paragraph (1) above" in rule 16(2) are intended to cover a case where the chiropractor is not requested to appear under rule 16(1), as well as a case where the chiropractor refuses to appear.

7. It is intended that when documents are sent to a chiropractor, the chiropractor will be notified about his opportunity to make the written representations described in paragraph 5(c) above (see also in this context rule 15(2)(c)). However, there is a difficulty of tenses in the words in parenthesis in rule 16(2), by implying that this will be done after the expiry of the 28 day period. This clearly will not be the case in respect of the documents supplied under rule 15(4), as the specified period for written representations in that case expires at the end of the 28 day period. Rule 16(2) in effect requires the Committee to look back to ensure that the steps described above have been taken.

8. Given that the Committee cannot give the chiropractor an opportunity to comment after the period concerned has already expired, properly construed the provision appears to have the desired effect. However, in view of the Joint Committee's comments, the General Chiropractic Council intends to amend the Rules when a suitable opportunity arises.

S.I. 2000/3291

9. The same comments apply to rule 16(2) of the General Chiropractic Council (Health Committee) Rules 2000, in a case where the Health Committee is determining any steps to be taken under section 23(4), (5) or (6) of the Chiropractors Act 1994. A similar problem of construction arises where documents are supplied by the Registrar under rule 15(5) of those Rules.

5 February 2001


 
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