A welcome breath of fresh air on the law concerning the regulated community
Have you noticed how some legal textbooks, even on the subject of most interest, tend to make you glaze over within minutes? You would never take such a book away with you on holiday. Well, I wouldn’t normally but the timing of this review meant that I did.
As it happens the eyes and attention span coped well and I lasted all the way to chapter 17. I think the main reason is that this book is a well crafted breath of fresh air on a relatively dynamic subject of growing complexity and interest yet one that has been somewhat neglected from a practitioners perspective in recent years.
Brian Harris QC, with editorial assistance from Andrew Carnes in the last five years, has provided an excellent source textbook, which has helped keep those dealing with regulation and discipline in touch with general principles and developments. As the only comprehensive legal reference book on regulatory and disciplinary proceedings, seven editions over 20 years have been an invaluable aid to many and have covered a huge amount of ground. The immensely practical focus of this eighth edition, which is in fact a major rewrite, is most welcome. This makes for a text that is highly readable. It would also be of interest and relevance to a much broader section of the regulation and discipline community. The new focus though in this new edition is definitely on the needs of practitioners. It has after all been written by practitioners experienced in regulatory and disciplinary proceedings.
The co-editors, Gregory Treverton-Jones QC, Alison Foster QC and Saima Hanif are acknowledged experts in the field. They have been supported by a team of specialist contributor barristers at 39 Essex Chambers who have covered certain parts of the book based on their experience in their own area of expertise.
I particularly like how the book’s 17 chapters, divided into four parts, present a full overview of the numerous areas with a concise and easy flow. Its development is logical and clear, starting with a general explanation of the jurisdiction of the regulators: powers, principles and approach, the nature of professional misconduct, tribunals and civil liability of regulatory bodies then turning to the disciplinary process.
The section on disciplinary process takes you through each stage from investigation to appeals and reviews, including judicial review, giving a detailed summary of the core legal principles and the main obligations and issues faced by both regulator and the regulated .The next part is a summary of the regulatory and disciplinary schemes of the main statutory bodies-financial services, healthcare, legal; together with a short summary of some of the other professions. The final part is a very useful explanation of the various obligations in the sometimes vexed (particularly for the regulator) areas of Data Protection and Freedom of Information. This overview, with reference to the main authorities is a timely and a valuable update. All sections include reference to the main authorities and many of the more recent cases are used.
One particularly welcome development in the eighth edition is the wealth of new material. Approximately 740 cases are referred to as well as numerous statutes and statutory instruments. Where there are details missing, there is a useful pointer to where you can find further guidance and cases. This makes the book a good starting point for further research. It also delves into some of the more problematic issues, such as the nature of professional misconduct. Worthy of special mention is the reference to ‘judicial reluctance to be drawn into an arid search for a single definition of what constitutes professional misconduct’ and there is a particularly good focus on the subject of investigation.
I picked up on this point: the question of when to begin an investigation is an issue which has been overlooked so far. And I quote ’’to set an investigation in train is a weighty matter: the investigation of even a trivial complaint can be costly and time consuming for the regulator and distressing for the person under investigation. A half-hearted investigation can be disastrous for all concerned.’’ The question of when to begin an investigation is covered comprehensively in chapter 5.
So overall, the eighth edition is to be recommended to a wide audience and particularly practitioners. I believe it achieves the co-editors’ stated intention for the book to be both useful and user-friendly. Is there anything missing? Not really except the bound book marker which would have been beneficial on the beach.
Jordan Publishing are pleased to offer a 20% discount on orders for Disciplinary and Regulatory Proceedings if ordered by 13 November. Visit www.jordanpublishing.co.uk/g811 and enter the discount code G811 at the checkout to receive your 20% discount.