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Injunction granted to stop disciplinary proceedings

Posted on 6th April 2010
Case law

The Court of Appeal has upheld an injunction preventing an NHS Trust from commencing disciplinary proceedings against a consultant forensic psychiatrist.

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Simon Quantrill Simon
Quantrill
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Mezey v South West London & St George's Mental Health NHS Trust 2010

Background

A patient of Dr Mezey had absconded from a mental health unit and murdered a man. Under the Trusts contractual disciplinary procedures an investigatory panel was set up. The panel concluded that Dr Mezey's actions in treating the patient had been within a range of opinion and that she had not been guilty of serious professional incompetence or misconduct. Despite this finding the Trust attempted to proceed with a disciplinary hearing.

The decision

An injunction was granted preventing the Trust from proceeding as the contractual procedures required Dr Mezey's competence to be in question for disciplinary action to be warranted. As this was not the case the Trust could not proceed.

In practice

Although a rare judgment and one which will only affect employers with strict contractual procedures, this decision is a reminder that employers must be careful to ensure that the actions that they propose to take against employees fall within their own procedures. Failure to do so could allow an employee to take preventative action as in this case.

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