Case management at a hearing

Reference: HEA-5c

Last Updated 28/07/2017

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Our overarching objective is to protect the public. This includes making decisions about the fitness to practise of a nurse or midwife in a manner that promotes confidence in the profession and affirms professional standards. So it is important that our hearings are conducted in a manner that maintains the public confidence in us as a regulator.

At the hearing it is for the panel to manage the parties and make sure the hearing runs smoothly. It is for the panel to manage when the hearing will be in session and what time the parties are required to attend each day.

The panel will also make the decision as to whether all or part of the hearing should be held in public or private and which part of their reasons should be published.

We will arrange witnesses to attend the hearing and give evidence. The nurse or midwife and the panel can question the witness on their evidence. The panel will consider what questions to ask the witness that will clarify their evidence and help them in coming to a decision on whether the charges are proven.

If, after the witness has completed their evidence, an issue is raised that needs clarification, the panel should give careful consideration as to whether the witness should be recalled to provide further evidence. The panel should consider whether recalling the witness is necessary, or whether it can explore the issue sufficiently with the parties who are still in attendance at the hearing or evidence they have already received.

If the panel considers that further investigation should be undertaken, it should consider carefully whether to adjourn the hearing to allow this to take place.

When making decisions, the panel should always strike a balance between the nurse or midwife’s right to a fair hearing and our statutory function of protecting the public. The panel should make decisions that sufficiently satisfy the public interest and allow us to meet our overarching objective in a fair and proportionate manner.