Review of a decision - Rule 9 review

The Rule 9 process allows you to challenge the way in which a decision has been made. It looks at whether the original decision-maker correctly applied the law and followed the right procedures. It is not an opportunity for the same concern to be presented to a new decision-maker, with a view to obtaining a different decision. It is referred to as a 'Rule 9 review' because the authority to conduct this process comes from Rule 9 of the General Dental Council (Fitness to Practise) Rules 2006 (as amended).

What decisions can be reviewed?

  • A decision by the registrar not to refer a concern (or part of a concern) to the case examiners, i.e. a decision that the concern (or part) does not amount to an allegation and to close the case with no further action.
  • A decision by the case examiners/Investigating Committee that an allegation referred to them ought not to be considered by a Practice Committee (i.e. that a case is closed with no further action, advice to the registrant, or a warning).

Who can ask for a review?

A request for a review can be made by:

  • The person who raised the concern or allegation.
  • The subject registrant.
  • The registrar.
  • Any other person who, in the opinion of the registrar, has an interest in the decision to close the case.

What is the process?

​There are two stages.

Stage one

The registrar will look at the application and decide whether a review should be carried out. The registrar will consider whether:

  • the application has been made within the two-year time limit or, if not, whether there are exceptional circumstances justifying this
  • the determination to close the case may be materially flawed, in whole or in part
  • there is new information which may have led to a different decision
  • a review is necessary to protect the public, prevent injustice to the respondent or it would be otherwise necessary in the public interest to conduct a review.

If those legal tests are not met, the case will be closed with no further action. If the registrar is satisfied that those legal tests have been met, the case will progress to Stage 2 and the registrar will conduct a review.

Stage two

If the registrar decides a review is necessary, the person who made the application and other relevant people will be made aware in writing and given an opportunity to make written representations. The registrar may also ask for further information. The registrar will then conduct a review.

If a review is conducted, the registrar will ask:

  • Was the decision for any reason, materially flawed in whole or in part?
  • Is there new information which probably would have led, wholly or partly, to a different determination?
  • Is a fresh determination:
    • necessary for the protection of the public?
    • necessary to protect the interests of the respondent?
    • otherwise necessary in the public interest?

There are only two possible outcomes at this stage:

  • The decision being reviewed is upheld and no further action is taken.
  • The decision being complained about is not upheld and a fresh determination is ordered.

How do I ask for a review?

Before you complete the Rule 9 application form, you should read the information factsheet and  guidance documents which we hope will help you understand the process.

If you still wish to apply for a review; please download and complete the Rule 9 application form and either  email to the Rule 9 legal adviser or post to:

Rule 9 Legal Advisor, General Dental Council, 37 Wimpole Street, London. W1G 8DQ.

What if I am not happy with the outcome?

​If you are unhappy with a decision that the case will be closed with no further action (whether at Stage 1 or Stage 2), the only way to challenge this decision is by a legal process called ‘judicial review’. This would involve starting a court claim.

You may wish to seek legal advice should you decide to pursue this option, as there are very stringent rules governing this process, including strict time limits.

The GDC does not have any power to reopen a case after the Rule 9 process has finished.