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Internal Disciplinaries and Human Rights

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[Thanks to James Medhurst of Employment Law Advocates for providing this case summary]

The High Court has handed down its decision in Puri v Bradford Teaching Hospitals, which is authority for the proposition that Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights is not engaged in respect of internal disciplinary procedures if their effect is not to deprive the employee concerned of the right to practise his profession.

The claimant was dismissed for rudeness but the General Medical Council did not impose any sanctions against him. Although it became difficult for him to find work within the NHS, he was able to obtain a job in private practice and it was found that it would not be impossible for him to return to the NHS at some point. Therefore, there was no need for his dismissal to comply with Article 6.

The High Court also said that, even if Article 6 had been engaged, it would not have been breached by the use of a disciplinary panel constituted of three members, only one of whom was from outside of the employer Trust. Fairness did not require either all, or the majority of, the panel to be from outside the Trust.