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Applying the civil standard of proof: Rules consultation approved

13 Mar 2008

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Council members today approved a consultation document on changes to the GOC Fitness to Practise Rules, to apply the civil standard of proof. The Health and Social Care Bill is expected to become law in July 2008. As a consequence, all nine UK healthcare regulatory bodies will be required to apply the civil standard of proof in their fitness to practise proceedings. The consultation is only on the rule changes themselves, and is not asking for comments on whether or not the civil standard of proof should be introduced, as this decision has already been made by Government. The GOC currently apply the criminal standard of proof, based on ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’. The civil standard is based upon ‘the balance of probabilities’. The standard of proof applies only when making decisions on disputed facts. Decisions as to whether actions found proved amount to impaired fitness to practise and what sanction, if any, to apply, will remain matters for the professional judgement of the Panel.

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