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The role of the legal assessor: R (Campbell) v General Medical Council [2005] EWCA Civ 250

It has been said that ‘it is well-established that the role of a legal assessor assisting a disciplinary panel is not analogous to that of a judge summing up in a criminal trial. In R (Campbell) v. General Medical Council (above), at para. 23 Judge LJ repeated the following passage from Libman v. General Medical Council [1972] AC 217: “The legal assessor who assists the committee at its hearing is not a judge, and his advice to the committee is not a summing up, and no analogy with a criminal appeal against a conviction before a judge and jury can properly be drawn. The legal assessor simply advises the committee in camera on points of law and reports his advice in open court after he has given it. The committee under its president are masters both of law and of the facts and what might amount to misdirection in law by a judge to a jury at a criminal trial does not necessarily invalidate the committee's decision. Where a criticism is made of the legal adviser's account of his advice the question is whether it can fairly be thought to have been of sufficient significance to the result to invalidate the decision. See Fox v General Medical Council and per Lord Guest in Sivarajah v General Medical Council ([1964] 1 WLR at 116, 117).”’ Per Underhill J in Gopakumar v General Medical Council [2006] EWHC 729 (Admin).

 

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