Veterinary Practice Act 2005
Consideration of an application for an inquiry.
76.—(1) The Council, or any person, may apply to the Registrar for an inquiry into the fitness to practise veterinary medicine F23 [ or veterinary nursing ] of a registered person on the grounds that—
( a) his or her behaviour constitutes professional misconduct,
( b) he or she is medically unfit to practise veterinary medicine by reason of physical or mental disability,
( c) his or her registration is erroneous due to a false or fraudulent declaration or misrepresentation, or
( d) he or she has failed to comply with any provision of this Act or any regulations made under it.
(2) ( a) Where a member of the Council or the Registrar receives a complaint in relation to a registered person in which it is alleged, as regards him or her, that any of the matters referred to in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d) of subsection (1) applies, then the member of the Council or the Registrar shall notify the person making the complaint that he or she may make an application under subsection (1).
( b) The Registrar shall maintain a record of complaints referred to in paragraph (a), and shall prepare and furnish a report in relation to them, to the Council as required by it and in any event, at least every 6 months.
(3) An application under subsection (1) shall be—
( a) in writing,
( b) signed by the person applying for the inquiry,
( c) accompanied by relevant information and documentation.
(4) Immediately upon receipt of an application for an inquiry, the Registrar shall—
( a) direct it to the Preliminary Investigation Committee, and
( b) notify the Council that the application for an inquiry has been made and the date upon which it was made.
(5) ( a) Two members of the Preliminary Investigation Committee, one of whom was appointed under paragraph (a) of section 70(2) and one of whom was appointed under paragraph (b) of that section shall consider the application for an inquiry.
( b) For the purposes of considering the application, the Preliminary Investigation Committee shall seek observations from the registered person in respect of whom the application was made, or from any other person whom it considers appropriate.
(6) Following consideration of the application the Preliminary Investigation Committee may decide, in relation to it—
( a) that the inquiry should not proceed in whole or in part because:
(i) it does not satisfy the requirements of subsection (3);
(ii) it is frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith;
(iii) it does not refer to any of the grounds set out in subsection (1) ;
(iv) there is insufficient evidence to warrant an inquiry;
( b) that the inquiry should proceed in whole or in part.
(7) The Preliminary Investigation Committee shall notify the Council in writing of its decision under subsection (6), including reasons for the decision, as soon as may be.
(8) ( a) If the Preliminary Investigation Committee fails to make a decision within the meaning of subsection (6), within F24 [ 4 months ] of an application being directed to it under subsection (4) it will be taken to have referred the matter, without a decision, to the Council.
( b) The Council on a reference of an application for an inquiry to it under paragraph (a), may, having considered the matter and, having regard to its functions under this Act, within F24 [ 4 months ] following that reference, decide any matter referred to in subsection (6).
( c) If the Council decides that it is correct to proceed with the inquiry in whole or in part it shall notify the Preliminary Investigation Committee of its decision and the reasons for it in writing, as soon as may be.
( d) If the Council decides that it is correct not to proceed with the inquiry, in whole or in part, it shall notify the Preliminary Investigation Committee, in writing of its decision, and the reasons for it, as soon as may be.
(9) If the Council is notified by the Preliminary Investigation Committee that it has decided that the inquiry should not proceed, it may, within F24 [ 4 months, and ] following that notification decide, having regard to its functions under this Act, that it is correct to proceed with the inquiry in whole or in part, and it shall notify the Preliminary Investigation Committee in writing of its decision to proceed and the reasons for it, as soon as may be.
(10) In this section—
F24 [ ‘ professional misconduct ’ , in relation to a registered person, means any act, omission or pattern of conduct that —
( a ) is connected with the practice of veterinary medicine or veterinary nursing and represents a serious falling short of the standard that could reasonably be expected of a registered person,
( b ) is infamous or disgraceful in a professional respect (notwithstanding that, if the same or like act, omission or pattern of conduct were committed by a member of another profession it would not be professional misconduct in respect of that profession), or
( c ) involves fraud or dishonesty of a nature or degree which bears on the carrying on of the profession of a registered person; ]
“registered person” means a person registered under Part 4 or 8 and includes a person who is no longer registered at the time of an application for an inquiry under subsection (1) but was registered at the time that the conduct the subject matter of the application occurred.