Having to attend a Fitness to Practise panel can be one of the most distressing experiences with which any student has to contend. Whatever the individual circumstances of your case, having to defend yourself against accusations of misconduct and knowing that if you fail to do so expertly, both your academic career and your future work career may be in jeopardy, can be a frightening prospect. It's important therefore to know in these circumstances that you don't have to face the ordeal alone. Match Solicitors have a proven track record in helping students clear their name before Fitness to Practise panels and getting them back on track and able to pursue their chosen career.
It is of course, absolutely right that students studying for professional qualifications in medicine, law, social work and so on are subject to extremely high standards of behaviour, as there is a duty to the general public to ensure that such students conduct themselves in a manner that is highly professional and appropriate to their chosen field at all times. Having said that, fitness to practise is a complex legal area and it is not uncommon for students' behaviour to be mischaracterised by university officials and for students to be wrongly accused of having brought their university into disrepute.
Therefore, the first thing you need to remember as a student facing a Fitness to Practise panel is that an accusation does not amount to guilt and you are very much innocent until proven otherwise. Therefore, naturally, you have the right and indeed the obligation to defend yourself as vigorously as possible.
What to do when you are unjustly accused...
It is possible for fitness to practise issues to be resolved without the necessity for an official hearing. In order for this to occur, students must have a good enough relationship with university tutors or other staff members to be able to meet with them in a slightly less formal setting and defend themselves, ultimately persuading the university of their innocence. However, this is not possible in every case and sometimes students are required to attend a formal panel without being given that opportunity.
Once you have received a formal request to attend a hearing, you must prepare your defence quickly, gathering together all the relevant evidence. To alleviate some of the pressure and to gain an understanding of which evidence is appropriate and which is not is essential, it is advisable to seek professional legal guidance.
At Match Solicitors, we have a substantial amount of experience representing students and defending them successfully against unreasonable or plain unjust allegations. If you are being asked to attend a Fitness to Practise hearing and would appreciate some assistance in preparing your case, give us a call at your earliest opportunity. Whatever the individual circumstances of your case, we have a team of dedicated education solicitors who will, in the first instance, advise you as to which is your best defence, and can then get to work helping you put your case together.