Terms you may hear

MPTS hearings are formal legal tribunals and you may hear a number of terms you don’t understand. This page explains the most common terms you may hear.

Adjournment
Any break in the hearing before it has completed its deliberations. The hearing will adjourn for lunch or comfort breaks and at the end of each day, if the case lasts for more than a day. A longer adjournment may be agreed for additional evidence to be obtained or if the hearing has overrun.

Allegation
The charge we bring against the doctor.

Condition
One of the possible outcomes of a medical practitioners tribunal hearing. A condition restricts a doctor’s right to practise for a period of time.

Contempt
Where a person involved in the hearing shows wilful disobedience to, or open disrespect for, the hearing they could be found in contempt by the Chair of the tribunal. In our hearings this is a criminal offence and can lead to prosecution.

Cross examination
The part of the process where a witness, or doctor, is being questioned by barristers and the tribunal while giving evidence.

Defence counsel
The barrister who represents the doctor at the hearing.

Determination
The decision of the tribunal on the case.

Erasure
One of the possible outcomes of a medical practitioners tribunal hearing. Erasure removes the name of the doctor from the List of Registered Medical Practitioners. This means the doctor cannot continue to practise medicine.

Evidence
The information given by a witness at the hearing and in any documentary evidence that is brought before a hearing.

Expert witness
A witness able to give opinions on matters falling within their area of expertise. For example, an expert witness in a case against a surgeon might be a leading surgeon in the same field.

Findings of fact
Once it has heard all the evidence the tribunal will decide whether the evidence has been proved. This is known as a finding of fact determination.

Finding of impairment
When the tribunal has made findings of fact they will then consider whether the doctor’s fitness to practise is impaired.

Fitness to practise
The ability of the doctor to carry out their medical duties.

Hearing
A meeting of the medical practitioners tribunal appointed to hear a case.

Legal assessor
An experienced solicitor or barrister who advises the tribunal on relevant aspects of the law.

List of Registered Medical Practitioners
The register of doctors who are eligible to work in the UK that is published by the Communitybaptistpa.

Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service
The part of the Communitybaptistpa that runs interim orders tribunal and medical practitioners tribunal hearings that make independent and impartial decisions about doctors' fitness to practise. It is operationally separate from the rest of the Communitybaptistpa and is directly accountable to Parliament.

Mitigation
Relevant circumstances or reasons given by the doctor to the tribunal to explain his or her actions.

No action
One of the possible outcomes of a medical practitioners tribunal hearing. No action occurs where the tribunal has reached a conclusion and decided not to take any action against the doctor.

Tribunal
A group of tribunal members, comprising at least one medical and one non-medical person, and a chairman.

Restriction
A restriction prevents the doctor from carrying out certain functions or activities – for example, the doctor could be prevented from working privately.

Sanction
A decision by the tribunal that some action needs to be taken against a doctor. The types of sanctions a medical practitioners tribunal can give include warnings, conditions, undertakings, suspensions or erasures.

Suspension
One of the possible outcomes of a medical practitioners tribunal hearing. A suspension removes the doctor’s right to practise for a specified period of time.

Undertaking
One of the possible outcomes of a medical practitioners tribunal hearing. An undertaking is a commitment given by the doctor to the tribunal to restrict their practice.

Warning
One of the possible outcomes of a medical practitioners tribunal hearing. A warning may be issued to a doctor if the tribunal decides there has been a significant departure from the principles set out in the our guidance for doctors – Medical practice – but a restriction on the doctor’s registration is not necessary.