If in doubt – declare!

In the case of Dad v GDC, [2021] EWHC 1376 (QB), the Honourable Mrs Justice Collins Rice considered the issue of declarations to the GDC in an application for restoration to the register. In this case, the issue was whether the question relating to current proceedings or investigations by a regulatory or licensing body required declaration of an investigation by the National Services Scotland Counter Fraud Service. It was argued on Mr Dad’s behalf that the NSS CFS is not a regulatory or licensing body, and the investigation therefore did not fail to be declared. Mrs Justice Collins Rice said that “an applicant is fairly required at least to think, to acknowledge the professional context, and if in doubt to (a) check and (b) err on the side of declaration”. She found that Mr Dad should have declared the CFS investigation, and his appeal was dismissed.

Questions such as this are commonly asked of professionals and whilst it may be tempting to interpret the question narrowly, in order to avoid declaring something that may be unhelpful, our experience is that a failure to declare is more harmful still. If in doubt, take advice from a professional body, indemnity provider, or specialist lawyer.