Disciplinary appeal must be lodged in 28 days

The nurses in this case sought to bring an appeal against the NMC in respect of disciplinary proceedings. The rules in question, art 29(9) of the  NMC Order 2001 SI 2002/253 provide that such an appeal must be brought within 28 days of the date of the decision. The Judge dismissed the appeals on the basis that they were outside that time limit. They went on to argue that Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights applied to ensure that their right to a fair trial meant that the rules had to be exercised less rigidly. They relied on a recent case which had allowed for some latitude where extradition proceedings were pending.

The nurses’ appeal failed on the basis that whilst there must be some consideration of Article 6 rights in conjunction with time limits and any restrictions that might affect  these rights the ability to depart from the 28 day rule was to be narrowly interpreted and will only arise in truly exceptional cases where the appellant had personally done all he or she could have done to have brought the appeal in time