Having been removed from a register of a Professional Regulator, be it because of a criminal conviction or because of a fitness to practice issue, it is likely, after five years in most cases, from the date of the removal (or an unsuccessful appeal against the decision to remove you) that you will seek to be restored to the register.
The majority of regulators have a restoration process.
What is the restoration process?
The process often differs depending on whether or not you have been removed from the register in the first place because of a criminal conviction or because of a fitness to practice issue.
Usually, you have to satisfy your regulator that you are fit and safe to return to the register.
In the majority of cases, you will have to complete an application form. You will likely need at least three people who will give references for you.
Having made the application, your case is more often than not referred to a case officer or reviewer before the matter is scheduled for a hearing.
Restoration Hearings are not an opportunity for you to argue against the findings of any original panel, or the severity of a decision (no matter how much you want to go behind the original decision).
There are things that you can do in preparation for the hearing, for example :
- Drafting a statement setting out what you have done since you were removed from the register.
- How you feel about the incidents that led you to be removed.
- How you can be sure that something similar won't happen again in the future.
- How you plan to get back into professional practice.
- Whether or not you need professionally updating and if so, how you plan to do that.
This is not an exhaustive list.
Can you have representation?
You can have representation at any stage for example to assist you and help with any initial application forms, to lodge your application form and references, to help you draft a statement of representation which may include some of the things that we have mentioned above and to represent you at a hearing before your regulator at the end of the process.
Most regulators have options of either:
- Disallowing your application in which case, more often than not, you cannot apply again for at least 12 months.
- Grant your application subject to your satisfying requirements relating to additional education or training. In this case, you will need to complete the re-admission process.
- Impose conditions of practice which will come into effect once you have successfully completed the relevant education and training requirements and the re-admission process.
Each regulator is different. For example, the NMC and the HCPC have different rules, albeit that most regulators mostly have similar procedures to abide by to obtain restoration.
What is the difference between Restoration and Fitness to Practice Hearings?
One significant difference between Fitness to Practice Hearings and Restoration Hearings is the Applicant has the burden of proof in the restoration case to show that they are fit to return to the register.
The panel members have to be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that you are a person that meets the general requirements for registration and is a person who is fit to practice the relevant profession having regard to the particular circumstances that led to the strike-off/removal in the first place.
If you have been removed from any register because of health reasons, then you will have to show that your health is improved to the extent that you are once again fit and able to practice and that you are not a danger to the public.
Some regulators have different rules completely. For example, GOsC (the Osteopaths Regulator) whereby, in Section 8 of the Osteopath's Act 1993, it says that any application for restoration can be made after a period of 10 months, beginning on the date of which the order came into effect. This, of course, is much different from many other regulators.
Some regulators have a costs sanction, should an application be unsuccessful. For example, the SRA, through the guise of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT).
Therefore, it is imperative that where your regulator has costs sanctions in these circumstances that you consider your application very carefully because of the adverse costs implications.
Contact Stuart Sutton, Defence Lawyer for Professionals
If you are seeking to be restored to a professional register, I can help. I have acted on a wide variety of cases and can help all types of professionals (including lawyers, accountants, teachers, police officers, doctors, nurses, dentists, bankers and other types of medical professionals).