A public hearing is held when an investigating committee has concluded that a registrant has a ‘case to answer’. The registrant is invited to attend and/or be represented at the hearing.
Most fitness to practise committee hearings are held virtually (online, using the Zoom video conferencing platform). Some may be held in-person, either in our Cardiff offices, or a north Wales venue. They can vary from a few hours to several days. Hearings can sometimes be adjourned to be concluded at a later date.
A fitness to practise committee includes at least three panel members, including at least one member from the same registrant category as the registrant involved in the case, and one lay person. The Committee is supported by an independent legal adviser. The Committee which sits at a hearing will not have had any previous knowledge of the case.
The EWC’s case is presented by a barrister. Their role is to prove the facts of the case by presenting documentary evidence and witnesses.
The registrant will also have had an opportunity to make written representations to the Committee before the hearing. They may also bring witnesses to support their case and/or choose to give verbal evidence to the Committee.
Some registrants choose not to attend their own hearings but are represented by their trade union or legal team. Some registrants choose neither to attend nor to be represented.
We encourage registrants to attend and seek advice and support.
The Committee will consider all the evidence presented on paper and provided by witnesses, before privately considering the facts of the case.
Its decision is based on the ‘balance of probabilities’, whether it is more likely than not the facts of the allegations are proven, and whether they amount to unacceptable professional conduct, serious professional incompetence, and/or a conviction for a relevant offence. The Committee will then decide whether registration should be affected by one of the following disciplinary orders:
- Reprimand: (two years) registration is not affected and a registrant can continue practicing
- Conditional Registration Order: (any time period) registration is not affected as long as the conditions set by the Committee are met
- Suspension Order: (up to two years) registration is suspended. The individual cannot practice in Wales for the period stipulated by the Committee (up to two years)
- Prohibition Order: registration is removed and the individual will no longer be allowed to practice in Wales. The Committee sets a time period (not less than two years) after which the individual may apply to be re-considered as suitable for registration. If no such application is successfully made, the Prohibition Order remains in force
More information about what to expect at a hearing is in our leaflet, information for registrants: giving evidence at a hearing .
We post notifications of hearings on our website five working days before a hearing. This includes details about the date, time and venue of the hearing, the employer at the time of the referral and the nature of the matter before the Fitness to Practise Committee.
If a disciplinary order is imposed on a registrant, we summarise the decision and publish it on our hearing outcomes page.
In the majority of cases, hearings can be attended by any member of the public or press.
Panel Members’ experiences
We asked four panel members about their experiences on the EWC fitness to practise panel. Watch what the panel members had to say about being on the fitness to practise panel.