MPTS Hearings


  • You and the GMC have the right to apply to postpone or adjourn your hearing, this applies to any hearing which has not yet commenced and at any stage where the hearing has commenced.
  • Before any hearing you should have been given notice of when and where it is to take place.
  • To ensure that you can attend you should provide any dates to avoid to the MPTS and they will take those into account when listing the hearing.
  • In cases where a directions hearing is listed you can conveniently provide your dates to avoid as part of any directions.
  • It is however not always possible to know when an adjournment is required and there are a number of reasons as to when the need may arise. For example, you may be unfit to attend due to illness, a further report or further information may be necessary or there may be issues in relation to your representation.

Where you seek an adjournment the MPTS must give you and the GMC (or any other party) the right to make representations. The Tribunal will want to know the reason/s you are seeking the adjournment and the time period sought.

If the reason for the adjournment relates to further information or documents they may well ask what has already been disclosed and when, why the information is missing and whether it is relevant and necessary.

If you seek an adjournment due to your ill health the Tribunal will wish to understand the nature and extent of the health condition, how it impacts your ability to participate in proceedings and how long the condition may be impactful. It cannot be assumed that the pro-forma fitness to work note will be sufficient evidence on its own for an adjournment. Similarly, the Tribunal has a discretion but not a duty to conduct further enquiries.

  • A Tribunal must consider all the relevant circumstances which may include whether there have been any previous adjournment applications, the stage the proceedings have reached, whether any witnesses will be affected by the adjournment.
  • There is a balance between ensuring fairness to you and the public interest which includes the efficient progress of proceedings.
  • There are several legal authorities in relation to the factors pertinent to a decision to adjourn, in GMC v Adeogba [2016] it was stated that “the fair, economical, expeditious and efficient disposal of allegations made against medical practitioners is of very real importance …fairness fully encompasses fairness to the affected medical practitioner (a feature of prime importance) but it also involves fairness to the GMC”.
  • Where a hearing is adjourned a Tribunal may well give directions that must be complied with before the resumed hearing.
  • It is also open to the Tribunal to consider any interim orders in the intervening period, such as conditions, which may be reviewed at the return hearing.
  • It is important to be aware that a Tribunal does have the discretion to proceed in your absence and so you must not assume that an adjournment will be granted.
  • Where you instruct us to represent you and should you seek an adjournment, we can assist in preparing a robust application to give your application the best chance of succeeding.
  • A good application rests both on the quality of the evidence and marshalling established legal principles in support.
  • Please note that this is an overview only of the salient issues relating to adjournments and cannot be relied upon as advice on your case. For full advice on procedure and legal issues please contact us directly and we will be pleased to assist you.