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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 10091
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I manage a healthcare clinic. One of our practitioners has

Customer Question

I manage a healthcare clinic. One of our practitioners has been the subject of a defamatory remark. This has happened recently and also in the past. I wish to pursue the individual that has made the remark/ allegation.
All healthcare professionals in the UK must be registered with the HCPC (Health Care Professions Council). The nature of this defamation is that an individual has made an allegation to the HCPC that a member of my team is not registered with the HCPC. This is factually incorrect and I am able to prove that the individual is registered with the HCPC and is therefore not practising unlawfully. I consider this allegation to be vexatious, malicious and a misuse of a regulatory body.
In the letter that we had received from the HCPC it had stated that “It is a criminal offence under Article 39 (1) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 for a person to deceive (whether expressly or by implication) to;
- Represent falsely that they are on the HCPC register
- Use a title protected by that Order to which they are not entitled; or
- Represent falsely that they posses qualifications in a relevant profession
From the above statement it is clear that the allegation that one of our practitioners is acting unlawfully is a serious allegation. Whoever has made this complaint has stated that we are in breach of this law and use of a protected title. It is our intention to pursue this individual for defamation/ slander.
The issue I have is identifying this person. I want to make a FOI request to the HCPC, I intend to make reference to Section 35 of the Data Protection Act (Disclosures Relating to Legal Proceedings), however from previous experience I know that some public bodies can be very difficult to extract information from. I believe that this FOI request will be legally sound, however I want to approach the HCPC’s FOI team in a way that will deter them from simply dismissing my request.
Can you assist?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

You can use section 35 and you can also obtain an order from the court under section 1 of the Administration of Justice (Scotland) Act 1972 for the seizure and recovery of documents required in contemplation.

I presume your proceedings will be in the name of the business rather than the individual concerned. You may want to consider the quantification of damages that you would seek. Can you establish a financial loss? In the law of defamation in this country, loss has to be proved. It is not presumed as it is in some countries, such as the United States.

So whilst the statement is clearly defamatory, you should give consideration to what loss, if any, your business has suffered.

Happy to discuss further.

I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

 


Good morning,


 


Thank you for your response, this has been most helpful. I want to raise the court order in order to establish who is making these allegations. I am unsure of how to obtain a court order for this purpose. Can you advise?


Many thanks,

Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
A petition has to be lodged in court. This is not something you will be able to do yourself as the legal work is quite specialised. You will have to see a good litigatiion solicitor who has knowledge of the administration of justice act legislation. Not all of them do. Expect to pay upwards of £4000 for fees and the various outlays.

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