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Professional Defence Solicitors for Opticians
If you are an optician accused of professional negligence, it can have a severe impact on your reputation and career, potentially jeopardising your ability to go on practising. When this happens, the professional defence solicitors at JMW can provide the legal advice you will need to defend yourself.
Our professional defence service for opticians will help you handle any dealings you are having with the General Optical Council (GOC), ensuring you are able to provide the right responses when under investigation. Our team of legal experts will guide you through the entire process to make sure you achieve the best possible outcome.
We understand that facing these allegations can be stressful and overwhelming, which is why we will work tirelessly to help protect your livelihood and reputation. With our in-depth knowledge of GOC regulations and compliance processes, we can give you the right guidance for your particular circumstances.
If your matter is urgent, call our 24-hour legal helpline on 0800 804 8186 to access expert legal advice whenever you need it.
How JMW Can Help
If you are facing an investigation by the GOC, the team at JMW Solicitors are here to advise you on your legal rights and responsibilities, and to help you to make the best choices throughout the legal process, based on our many years of experience.
We can represent you whether you are a member of a professional defence union or not, and will support you in the following ways:
- Explaining and advising on what will be expected from you during the investigation process, and breaking down the relevant legislation
- Preparing correspondence and responses to the GOC on your behalf
- Helping you prepare for any committee meetings you need to attend
- Representing you in official hearings and in court
- Advising you on how to handle the final ruling, including how to lodge an appeal against a suspension or removal from the register
No matter what the circumstances of your case may be, we will gather together all of the available evidence to help you put together the strongest possible defence. It is essential that you contact a solicitor as soon as possible to give you the best chance of securing the desired outcome.
What Our Clients Say
Professional Defence FAQs For Opticians
How does the GOC’s investigation process work?
If a complaint has been made against an optician, the investigation process will generally proceed as follows:
- The GOC will gather the relevant evidence and witness reports, which will be compiled and sent to the professional in question
- The respondent professional will usually have 28 days to submit a written response to the draft findings, although further time may be given
- The GOC Investigation Committee will consider whether the case requires further action, whether this be a letter of advice, a formal warning or a referral to the Fitness to Practise Committee
- If the Fitness to Practise Committee has to become involved, they will carry out their own assessment of the case. They will hear evidence in deciding whether: (i) the allegations are established (ii) fitness to practice is impaired and (iii) and decide whether a sanction should be imposed
This process can last for many months, and you may be prohibited from practising during this time, depending on the severity of the case. You should spend as much time as possible preparing a strong defence during this period and you may wish to resist any application prohibiting you from practising in the meantime.
Providing comprehensive and persuasive responses during this process can make the difference between an investigation being dropped or proceeding to trial, so it is vital to seek professional legal advice before writing a formal response.
What sanctions can the GOC impose?
If the Fitness to Practise Committee decides that the evidence raises sufficient doubt about an optician’s capabilities, they may impose the following sanctions:
- A fine of up to £50,000
- Restrictions on your ability to practise, lasting up to three years
- A full suspension of up to 12 months
- Striking your name off the optical register, meaning you are no longer able to work as an optician
When a decision has been made, you will have up to 28 days to lodge an appeal, during which any changes to your registration status stay in force until your appeal has been successful. If you believe that this decision was unjustified, seeking professional legal advice can be instrumental in getting the ruling overturned.