General Medical Council v Karim [2023] EAT 87

Appeal against a successful claim of direct race discrimination. Appeal allowed.

The Claimant is a doctor. He is black African / European and is a Muslim. A number of allegations of conduct said to affect his fitness to practise were raised with the respondent. Upon the completion of its investigation the Respondent made a referral in relation to certain of those allegations to a Medical Practitioners Tribunal. Following a hearing the MPT did not find misconduct to be made out. The Claimant presented a tribunal claim making complaints of direct discrimination because of race and/or religion in relation to some 20 aspects of the Respondent’s conduct. These included decisions to refer his case at certain points to an Interim Orders Panel, the failure to discontinue its investigation at certain stages, the overall length of time that the process took, and other decisions. The ET upheld some (but not all) of the complaints of direct race discrimination on the basis that the burden of proof had passed but not been satisfied. The Respondent appealed.

The EAT allowed the appeal. The ET failed to engage with key aspects of its case, and so produced a decision which was not Meek-compliant; and reached some findings and conclusions at different points that were conflicting or contradictory. In particular, the ET did not make it clear whether certain complaints had been upheld. It failed to explain why it did not accept aspects of the Respondent’s case as to the particular reasons why certain conduct complained of occurred, which the Respondent asserted related to features of the allegations and evidence that were also different from those relating to a white comparator relied upon by the Claimant; and it made irreconcilable findings in relation to certain of those complaints. The ET also relied, as an essential part of its reasoning, on statistics relied upon by the Claimant, relating to the over-representation of BME doctors in referrals, investigations and outcomes; but failed to explain what it made of research material relied upon by the Respondent as a key part of its response to that.

Published: 04/07/2023 09:41

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