Susanna Heley explains why she is not convinced a fitness to practice regime is the way forward

It remains a firmly embedded misconception that disciplinary proceedings are solely or principally about punishment.

Even the use of the term ‘sanction’ to describe the outcome of disciplinary proceedings supports the suggestion that punishment is the goal. 

In fact, the leading case of Bolton v Law Society [1994] 1 WLR 512 teaches us that the punitive element of sanctions is the least important of three elements in considering the purpose of sanctions. 

We are told that the punitive element acts as both punishment and deterrent, but that the more important considerations are ensuring that the transgressor does not repeat the misconduct and ensuring the reputation of the profession is uphe...

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