Covid 19: Professionals working during the pandemic

The Coronavirus crisis has shone an exhausting spotlight on the NHS and the professionals who work within it. Those professionals and many others in the UK are working tirelessly. Many are being asked to undertake work which is not within their own specialty. Whilst such requests are understandable, it is imperative that professionals working in any industry during this unsettling period remain mindful of their own professional regulatory obligations.

Professional misconduct allegations call into question the moral and professional status of the person accused. The mere fact of the nature of the complaint can be devastating, as can professional and personal ramifications; livelihood, family, finances and social standing. It may all hang in the balance.

The experience of professionals involved in the criminal justice system for the first time can be devastating. Often there is a social stigma attached to certain types of allegations. Depression and insecurity in the work place is often a common symptom and personal and professional relationships are affected. The accused individual’s mind becomes pre-occupied with clearing their name. Many have often asked “why did this happen to me?”

What should be your first step if you do find yourself in such a position?

The sensible thing to do is seek legal advice at the first available opportunity. What seems to you like a mine field, is in fact a route which most specialist legal teams undertake on a daily basis. Seeking advice at the outset can ensure that you do not make elementary but damaging mistakes which affect the ultimate outcome. It enables you to see the light at the end of the tunnel, albeit sometimes the tunnel is a long one.

In the interim whilst the investigation takes it course, it is often possible for individuals and professionals to continue with their employment with safeguards and conditions imposed (depending upon the nature of the allegation). Your legal team can often identify situational professional challenges, which inevitably arise in such circumstances. This enables you and colleagues to implement good practice management to ensure such challenges are met.

Often those in business and professionals are in a partnership or in practice with other professionals. The mere nature of such allegations can have financial and logistical implications for the business. Your solicitor can assist on advising on what practical steps can be taken to reduce the impact on your business and practice during the period of the investigation.

Media coverage is something which is often not considered by those who find themselves in this situation. Coping with the pressure and upset again is something which your legal team can assist with.

The hearing is often an extremely stressful process, partly because most individuals have no idea what to expect and so much to lose. The assistance of a legal team from the outset results in advice and guidance from the initial stages regarding procedure and what to expect from the hearing. There are inevitable delays and interruptions during the course of a hearing and during the pandemic, which often increases stress levels for those accused. Your legal team can seek to reduce such administrative matters by working on your case from the outset. Areas, which are often considered at the hearing, are credibility, contemporaneous record keeping and good practice. Your legal team will be able to draw upon their pool of often-utilised expert witnesses to support any evidential issues in your case. At the actual hearing submissions from an experienced and able advocate carry great weight with the adjudicating panel. Often an able Barrister can persuade the panel that allegations are untrustworthy, unfounded and uncorroborated and the case concludes.

Instructing and working with a legal team from the outset means you can draw and benefit from their understanding, knowledge and professionalism. Trust and working closely with your legal team means that you can take steps from the outset to ensure you have support, survive the experience and ensure that you obtain a just outcome.

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