QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
B E T W E E N :
|FLORENCE YEWANDE PHILLIPS||Applicant|
|- and -|
|THE GENERAL DENTAL COUNCIL||Respondent|
MR S SINGH (instructed by The General Dental Council) appeared on behalf of the respondent.
Crown Copyright ©
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN:
"… the committee has determined that it is appropriate and proportionate to suspend your registration for a period of 12 months. It is considered that such a period, which is the maximum available, reflects the seriousness of your misconduct and will give you time to develop the necessary level of insight …"
"This evidence could usefully include a substantial piece of written reflection to show that you have developed a full understanding of the importance of absolute honesty and integrity in a dental professional. The Committee notes your intent to write to Patient A, a copy of this letter may be of assistance."
"If you wish to provide this evidence, please send it to me on email or at the address below, marked for my attention, by 21st March 2017."
MR SINGH: My Lord, we do apply for costs. Has your Lordship seen the schedule?
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: Have you got a costs schedule?
MR SINGH: Yes, it was
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: I have not personally seen it.
MR SINGH: No. I can hand this up. (Handed).
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: Thank you. Has the appellant got a copy of this?
THE CLAIMANT: It was emailed to me yesterday.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: Have you got it with you, though?
THE CLAIMANT: No, I have not.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: Well, here you are. Mr Singh will give you another copy.
THE CLAIMANT: Thank you. (Handed).
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: All right. So the bottom line is £5,702.88, is that right?
MR SINGH: Yes.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: So you say she should be ordered to pay that?
MR SINGH: In principle, yes.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: Well, sorry, in principle she should be ordered to pay your costs.
MR SINGH: Yes.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: Then you would ask me to assess it, presumably at or about that figure?
MR SINGH: I would, my Lord, yes.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: Yes. Your essential point would be she has brought this appeal, it has resulted in expense by you and she has been unsuccessful and in fact I have, with due deliberation, characterised it as hopeless.
MR SINGH: Yes, correct.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: Well, madam, the problem is you have set this in train and it was inevitably going to cost the General Dental Council money which is all money, I expect, which comes from registration fees.
On the principle of it, is there any basis on which I can not order you to pay their costs? We will think later as to the exact amount.
THE CLAIMANT: I cannot afford it.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: That, unfortunately, is not a reason for not making an order as to costs.
THE CLAIMANT: It would only be a principle of mercy, not on justice.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: I am afraid, really, at the level of an appeal, which this is, I have to apply justice and not mercy. I am very, very sorry.
I am very sympathetic to you but the fact is you have brought this appeal. It is an appeal which was and is hopeless. The General Dental Council who are funded entirely by all the other dentists paying their registration fees have incurred expenditure, so if I was merciful to you, I would be unjust to them. I am very, very sorry madam but I will have to make an order that you are to pay the costs of the General Dental Council of and incidental to this appeal.
The next thing is the amount of them. I can either make what is called a "summary assessment" and decide today what the amount should be and that is the end of it, or I can make an order that there be what is called a "detailed assessment", which means on another day a Costs Judge would look at this bill, would hear anything you have to say and decide how much the reasonable costs are. The difficulty about that is it, in turn, incurs more costs.
THE CLAIMANT: Further costs.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: And if the GDC had to attend a hearing before a Costs Judge to justify the figures in their bill and they were successful in doing so, you would then be ordered to pay the additional legal fees of that and so it goes on.
So I think what I should make is what is called a "Summary Assessment" today. Do you, madam, wish to address me on the actual items in this bill, or the levels of charge? I know it is difficult for you because you are not familiar, probably, with legal costs.
THE CLAIMANT: I am none the wiser, your Lordship.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: Sorry?
THE CLAIMANT: I am none the wiser.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: It is not easy to fault the amount of time that staff at the GDC have spent on this because I think if you add it up in preparation for this, they have only incurred somewhere around three hours, which is not a lot. Plus, they are here today and that is two hours.
MR SINGH: In addition, there is the work on the documents, I think, it is on the schedule in the back.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: No, that is a breakdown, is it not? The schedule itself shows £518.20.
MR SINGH: Sorry, yes.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: The schedule of work on document is a breakdown of what they were doing in those periods of time.
MR SINGH: Yes. There is the work on documents, on page 2, is included as a figure, 518.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: Have I got that wrong?
MR SINGH: Then I think, then that is itemised separately within the schedule. So the hours on the documents are not reflected within the hours on page 1 and page 2.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: Exactly.
MR SINGH: As I understand it. It is only an additional - it is two hours preparing the bundle and another 1.2 hours dealing with other matters.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: Then we have got Mr Singh's fees. He has prepared a very detailed argument. That is included in the fee, is it not?
MR SINGH: It is, yes.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: Yes. Which must itself have involved quite a few hours of work. Have you, yourself, previously been engaged in this case, Mr Singh?
MR SINGH: No, I do not appear below.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: So you have had to come at it from scratch.
MR SINGH: Yes.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: I am afraid litigation is expensive. To guard against a possibility that there is some excess in these figures, I will be willing to round it down to £5,000, inclusive of VAT. I cannot do much more than that.
THE CLAIMANT: I do appreciate that, your Honour.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: I beg your pardon?
THE CLAIMANT: I do appreciate that, your Honour. It will be hard for me.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: Yes, all right. Well then, I am going to say, or I have already said, that the appellant must pay the costs of the General Dental Council of and incidental to this appeal, summarily assessed in the sum of £5,000, inclusive of VAT.
Is there anything else, Mr Singh, that now arises from your perspective?
MR SINGH: No, thank you.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: Is there anything else, madam?
THE CLAIMANT: No, your Lordship.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: No. All right. Thank you very much indeed for coming, madam. I am very glad that you have come, because as the court had not heard anything from you and I had no elaboration of your appeal document, quite frankly, I was not at all sure whether you were going to be here.
So I am very glad that you have been here, and it has helped clarify a number of issues, but I am afraid for the reasons I have given that is the decision.
Do you wish Mr Singh to draw up an order?
THE COURT ASSOCIATE: I will.
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN: Yes, all right. Well, the associate will draw up an order. Thank you all very much indeed.
Transcribed by Opus 2 International Ltd.
(Incorporating Beverley F. Nunnery & Co.)
Official Court Reporters and Audio Transcribers
5 New Street Square, London EC4A 3BF
Tel: 020 7831 5627 Fax: 020 7831 7737
**This transcript has been approved by the Judge (subject to Judge's approval)**