I had said in an earlier post that the regulations sought to interfere more intrusively in the decisions and discretions of LQCs. The one in which most practitioners may be interested is that concerning legal representation. By reg 7(2), the unavailability of a relevant lawyer is said to be “not a valid ground for unreasonable delay in any stage of disciplinary proceedings where alternative legal representation can be found”.
There is, as I understand it, no legal right to representation of choice of counsel in criminal proceedings or civil proceedings. Regardless, this enactment has much ambiguity. What is “unreasonable delay” is not defined – that is (for the moment) a matter for the LQC. One presumes that the qualification of there being alternative legal representation that can be found refers to adequate and competent representation – where there is a case of considerable complexity the number of alternative legal representation at short notice may be slim.
More importantly, however, is the constitutional propriety of a statutory instrument’s interfering with the judicial decision making and discretion of an independent LQC – here, by instructing them as to what matters they may not consider valid when deciding whether or not to adjourn or to extend time limits.
The provision of notices now has a new provision – permitting notices or documents to be given or supplied in any manner which is agreed between the person giving it and the officer receiving it: reg 8(3).
Reg 11 now requires the appropriate authority to keep a record of proceedings brought against every officer, together with the finding and sanction – no doubt for the purpose of the barred list.