Hearings under the Fitness to Practise Rules

The Fitness to Practise (FTP) process deals solely with issues of health and does not cover general competence to perform as a barrister.  Proceedings are therefore confined to determining whether a barrister’s fitness to practise is impaired as a result of health issues and, if so, whether any restrictions on practice should be imposed.  The procedures are laid down in the Fitness to Practise Rules Bar Standards Board Handbook


There are two types of hearings under the Fitness to Practise Rules: Medical Panels and Review Panels.  Medical Panels consists of a Chairman, two other barristers, a medical expert and a lay member.  Review Panels consists of a Chair and one other barrister member (both of whom are experienced Queen’s Counsel and the senior of which will be the Chair), a medical expert and a lay member.

Fitness to Practise hearings are informal and the process is at the discretion of the Chair.  Hearings are usually held in private, unless the barrister requests that it be held in public.

Fitness to Practise hearings process map