Information for Witnesses
If you are are due to give evidence at a hearing you can find out information here.
If the Investigating Committee decides to send your complaint to the Professional Conduct Committee or Health Committee we will contact you. As well as writing to you, we will phone you to discuss any initial questions you may have.
A hearing will be scheduled and you may be asked to give evidence. We will also tell the chiropractor and their legal team about the date and time of the hearing.
Hearings are usually held at the Health & Care Professions Council Tribunal Centre in London.
We will book you into a local hotel and pay the bill for you. Please tell us if you have any specific needs, such as mobility impairment or any dietary requirements.
We will pay any reasonable expenses connected to your appearance as a witness at a hearing. In addition to accommodation, this includes:
loss of earnings
other arrangements for relatives or partners who depend upon you for their care.
When you arrive at the hearing, a member of staff will meet you, take you to a waiting room and you will be asked to wait until it is your turn to give evidence to the committee.
There will be a staff member there to answer your questions and make sure that you have enough to eat and drink during the day.
If you wish, you can bring a relative or friend to keep you company while you are waiting.
A hearing is a formal proceeding where the allegations of the complaint are argued by two legal teams and a decision is made by the committee - whether the chiropractor is guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.
There are usually three committee members, one of whom will be a chiropractor. A barrister will also sit with the committee to give it legal advice.
The General Chiropractic Council will be represented by a barrister or a solicitor, or perhaps both.
Usually the chiropractor will have a barrister or solicitor to put their case in response to the allegations that the General Chiropractic Council has made.
The General Chiropractic Council must prove the allegations (charges) against the chiropractor, and that the chiropractor is guilty of unacceptable professional conduct or incompetence, or unfit to work as a chiropractor for health reasons.
Your name will not be used during the hearing or in documents we publish. You will be called, for example, Mr A or Ms B, or Patient A or B.
Hearings are usually held in public. This means that anyone can attend. Sometimes a hearing, or part of a hearing, may be held in private if confidential or intimate information about you, or other witnesses, is to be considered; or if the case involves a child or a vulnerable adult.
Health committee hearings are usually held in private unless the chiropractor decides otherwise. This is because medical information, confidential to the chiropractor, needs to be considered.
You will have a key role as a witness for the General Chiropractic Council and will give oral (spoken) evidence about your complaint to the committee.
The people who sit on General Chiropractic Council committees know that it can be difficult for witnesses to give evidence. It can be a stressful experience for anyone and they know that you are likely to be nervous. The chair of the committee will make sure that you are not put under any unnecessary pressure. The chair and the General Chiropractic Council’s barrister or solicitor will make sure that you are treated fairly and with respect during the hearing.
Before giving your evidence you will be asked to take an oath, or affirmation, in the same way you would if giving evidence in a court of law.
Someone from each legal team, a barrister or a solicitor, will then ask you questions. Members of the committee may also ask you questions.
It is important that you answer all the questions put to you clearly and accurately. To help you focus on the questions being asked it is usually best to try to keep your answers short.
When you are being questioned please say if you:
do not understand the question
do not remember something
do not know the answer
want a short break.
Once you have given your evidence you can stay and observe in the public area, unless the committee has decided that the hearing should be in private.
You can see the layout of the hearing chamber (the room where you will give your evidence) here.
All the decisions taken by the Professional Conduct Committee and Health Committee are looked at by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA). This is the organisation that promotes best practice and consistency in regulating healthcare professionals. If the PSA thinks the decision is too lenient they can refer it to the courts
If the chiropractor you have complained about thinks the decision is wrong or too harsh, they can appeal to the courts – but only on a point of law.