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Ropewalk - Law firm

Jan Alam

Call: 2003
Award

"Well known for her professional discipline and regulatory expertise."

Legal 500

Jan has a specialised civil practice. Her major core area is professional discipline and regulation. In addition, she has a strong practice in medical, Coronial and healthcare law. She also sits as an Assistant Coroner for West Yorkshire (Eastern District).

She is head of Chambers’ Professional Discipline and Regulation Team.

She is also instructed on ISA (Independent Safeguarding Authority) matters, academic and employment disciplinary hearings and appeals, particularly representing medical and healthcare practitioners.

She has and continues to deliver training in the areas of professional discipline and regulation, recovery of care home fees and Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding.

Jan is registered undertake direct access work and is able to receive instructions directly from lay clients, as well as those on the traditional professional client basis.

Professional Discipline & Regulation

Doctors, nurses, dentists and other healthcare practitioners’ regularly instruct Jan on a direct access basis in a range of matters before various regulators including the General Medical Council (GMC), the General Dental Council (GDC), Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). She also receives instructions from solicitors and unions.

She assists medical and healthcare practitioners with all manner of cases, including allegations involving professional misconduct, clinical failings, surgical errors, sexual misconduct, dishonesty and drug errors. She provides legal assistance, guidance and representation from early on in the proceedings, throughout the regulator’s investigation and at any Interim Order Panel (IOP) hearings, Health Committee hearings and substantive hearings to determine a Registrant’s Fitness to Practise (FTP).

In addition, she regularly advises upon GMC registration matters and represents doctors before GMC Registrations Appeals Panel Hearings.

Cases

  • GMC v Dr A: Jan represented a plastic surgeon before the General Medical Council (GMC) Interim Orders Panel (IOP) hearing, for allegations of surgical failings in breast augmentation surgery. Counsel for the GMC was seeking an Interim Suspension Order (ISO). She was successful with her submissions that no interim order was necessary. Dr A was delighted and relieved, as the implications for him were very severe given his entire practice was private and provided a seven figure income, which would have been adversely affected with an interim order. Subsequently Dr A’s libel lawyer later used the IOP determination to prevent an adverse article being published in a national newspaper referring to Dr A as a “Butcher Surgeon”.
  • NMC v V: Jan successfully represented Nurse V who allegedly restrained a patient unlawfully. She successfully made submissions for ‘no case to answer’.
  • HPC v P: Jan defended a physiotherapist charged with ten charges, including professional misconduct, dishonesty and record keeping failures. The Health Professions Council (HPC) heard evidence over the course of a week. The lay client and instructing solicitor were very pleased with the outcome of a one year Conditions of Practice Order.
  • GMC v O: Jan handled a sensitive case with meticulous care. The doctor (Consultant Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology) faced an allegation of sexual assault by penetration, including performing an intimate examination without the patient’s consent. Additional relevant factors in this case were that the sexual assault allegations were subject to a police investigation at the time, further the doctor also undertook locum work as a gynaecologist at a clinic for rape victims that involved intimate examinations. She successfully defended the doctor before the GMC Interim Orders Panel (IOP) Hearing. No interim order was made.
  • GMC v Dr H: Jan defended a doctor before the GMC for Fitness to Practise (FTP) Tribunal. The doctor was charged with plagiarism (which was admitted) and dishonesty offences in her academic studies for her Masters’ degree. Opposing counsel for the GMC sought erasure for dishonesty and lack of insight. She made robust submissions for a short period of suspension. The doctor was sanctioned by way of a 28 day suspension order. Prior to the GMC case, she had represented Dr H at her University’s Academic Appeals Hearing. She was charged with the University’s strict liability offence of plagiarism. Following successful written submissions that Dr H should be entitled to have legal representation, which was previously not permitted by the University, consequently led to a full review of their Academic Hearing Procedures, resulting in an overhaul of their policy. Dr H’s case was the first case where the new procedures were used, to allow legal representation at the Appeal Hearing. The case was instrumental in changing the Academic Hearing and Appeals Procedure at this University, thereby allowing future students the benefit of having legal representation in exceptional cases.
  • NMC v S: Nurse S, a manager of a care home, faced six charges before the NMC, including failures in wound management, catheter care, medication, record keeping and failings in managing the home, which she admitted. Jan’s assessment of the case was that it merited strong, robust submissions at the second stage of the Fitness to Practise Hearing, namely at the impairment stage. She succeeded with her submissions that the nurse’s Fitness to Practise was not impaired, despite the Panel finding misconduct. Instructing solicitor and Nurse S were delighted with the result.
  • NMC v L & M: She successfully defended her client, Nurse L, a staff nurse who was being tried with another nurse before the NMC in a trial that lasted six weeks, where the patient had died. The two co-Registrants were charged with numerous charges including failings in catheter care, drug errors, and record/note keeping failures. In regard to her client, the panel found no impairment regarding Fitness to Practise (FTP). Therefore, the case concluded there at Stage 2, impairment stage of the hearing. The case against the co-Registrant continued to Stage 3, sanctions stage.
  • NMC v B: She recently successfully represented Nurse B, who was charged with sexual misconduct, including sexual relationship, with a vulnerable patient. Sanction: twelve month caution order.

Employment

Jan has a busy employment law practice. In particular, representation of medical and healthcare practitioners including doctors and nurses, either as a stand-alone case or as parted of linked proceedings involving the practitioner’s regulator, such as a Fitness to Practise investigation.

She is happy to accept instructions to provide legal assistance and representation to lay clients, medical and healthcare practitioners, NHS directors, or Trusts on internal disciplinary, employment tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal matters, including claims for unfair dismissal, race/sex discrimination and victimisation.

She additionally has experience of cases involving police officers; claims for unfair dismissal, race discrimination and victimisation, including discrimination claims against the Police Federation.

Inquests

Jan regularly represents families, residential and nursing homes and other interested parties at inquests, including Article 2 enquiry inquests.

She has particular experience in inquests involving mental health issues, cosmetic surgery procedures and potential clinical negligence.

She recently represented the deceased’s family at an inquest into the death of a patient who had undergone gastric band revision surgery, which resulted in a known but rare complication of the procedure. Consequently, the deceased (patient) developed sepsis which was not diagnosed in time for effective treatment. This case was the forerunner to a civil action for clinical negligence following the inquest.

Inquests can be particularly distressing for family members of the deceased, especially where there are a number of sensitive issues or complex matters that may have contributed to the circumstances leading up to the death of a loved one. Robust, yet sensitive, representation is one of her strengths and has often been commented upon and valued by her clients.

Her particular approach was appreciated greatly by a family she represented in an inquest involving a number of sensitive issues including suicide following child pornography allegations, police inquiry and acts of retribution by the local community towards the family of the deceased and their business.

She recently represented a Police Constabulary in a nine day Article 2 jury inquest into the death of a young man who violently took his own life within twenty-four hours of being released from Police custody where he had been detained using powers under the Mental Health Act.

Cases

  • Re: Mr D K: Jan represented a nursing home at an inquest into the death of a resident, where opiate overdose was suspected due to an error with the medication.
  • Re: Mr S D: She represented the family of a local businessman who had taken his own life following his arrest and a police investigation into child pornography. Her instructions were specifically to manage the evidence of the witnesses in such a way to prevent the sensitive information being brought into the public hearing, to minimise the adverse impact this had already had on the family and their business. The family had received threats and their business had been subject to criminal damage when the local media reported the criminal investigation into child pornography in regard to the deceased.
  • Re: Mrs N G: This inquest was a forerunner to a clinical negligence claim. She represented the deceased’s family at an inquest into the death of a patient who had undergone gastric band revision surgery, which resulted in a known but rare complication of the procedure. Consequently, the deceased (patient) developed sepsis which was not diagnosed in time for effective treatment.
  • Re: AK: She recently represented a secondary school at an inquest into the death of a 1fourteenyear pupil who had been the victim of bullying.
  • Re: HS: She was recently instructed by the family of HS who was due to undergo elective surgery but died as a result of a drug error during the anaesthesia process.
  • Re: WB: This was a nine day Article 2 inquest into the death of a young man who took his life within twenty-four hours of being released from police custody, where he had been detained for his own safety pursuant to powers under the Mental Health Act. She was instructed by the Police Constabulary

Care Home Law & Healthcare

Jan represents families in Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding claims / appeals and recovery of nursing or care home fees cases before the Primary Care Trust (PCT) Local Review Panels, Strategic Health Authority (SHA) Independent Review Panels and Parliamentary Healthcare Service Ombudsman (PHSO) in respect of either extant CHC funding claims or retrospective and restitution claims.

She prepares and delivers bespoke training to firms of solicitors wishing to establish a CHC Funding Claims and Recovery of Nursing/Care Home Fees department.

She also provides legal assistance and guidance to directors of care homes and practice managers of dentistry practices in connection with their compliance, registration and inspections involving the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Cases

  • Mrs W – Continuing Healthcare (CHC) Funding Claim: Jan represented the family of Mrs W to challenge the eligibility determination for Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding covering a three year period. Mrs W’s cost for care was in the region of £30,000 per annum. Mrs W was granted one year of CHC funding costs. The outstanding period of care was further challenged, awaiting final determination.
  • Mrs M (deceased) – Restitution Claim: The period for which restitution was claimed was two years. The family had previously challenged the decisions refusing restitution. There had been three refusals in as many years. Jan was instructed by solicitors to represent the family before the Independent Review Panel (IRP). The IRP were persuaded that Mrs M was entitled to full restitution.

 

Appointments

  • Assistant Coroner West Yorkshire (Eastern District)
  • Direct Access Qualified

Memberships

  • Association of Regulatory Disciplinary Lawyers
  • Coroners’ Society
  • Public Access Bar Association

Education

  • LLB (Hons), Nottingham Trent University

Recommendations

“Her advice is delivered with a careful balance of patience and firmness.”
Legal 500 2017 – Regulatory, health and safety and licensing

“A skilled advocate, she is calm and focused.”
Legal 500 2016 – Regulatory, health and safety and licensing

“Well known for her professional discipline and regulatory expertise.”
Legal 500 2015 – Regulatory, health and safety and licensing

“I had the privilege of meeting Ms Jan Alam recently for a consultation. During the whole process, I found her to be very professional and thorough with all legal issues relating to my case. I also found her to be very understanding and approachable. I will have no hesitation in recommending her for any legal matters that she specialises in.”
Dr SG, Consultant Surgeon Gynaecologist (GMC FTP case)

“I am an Australian plastic surgeon who was applying for GMC registration for UK Fellowship purposes. The process was a complete bureaucratic nightmare and the GMC unhelpful at every step of the way. I required a barrister with a sound understanding of the GMC and medical system and was fortunate to find Ms Alam. Following my initial contact, she arranged to meet with me two days later on a weekend. Given the time constraints of my situation, I was extremely grateful for her accommodating me at such short notice. I was immediately put at ease by her professional conduct and thoughtful, systematic approach. The GMC have since ruled in my favour and I am certain that, without her intervention, I would have wasted at least three months of my life and endured a costly GMC appeals process. I cannot recommend Ms Alam highly enough”.
Dr AP, Plastic Surgeon (GMC Registration case)

“Ms Jan Alam had been working on my case of allegation of plagiarism since a year. She dealt [with] the University and FTP at GMC as well. I am writing to highly recommend Ms Alam for such cases. She was absolutely thorough and professional in her attitude and during the hearings. Informally I found her sympathetic towards her client and gave the best possible advice. She was considerate and flexible with time and circumstances. The outcome at [the] University hearing and [the] GMC were the best possible I could get. She saved my registration by the grace of God.”
Dr KH, Associate Specialist doctor (GMC FTP case)

“Ms Jan Alam was my counsel in dealing with the case of plagiarism with the University. Ms Alam has dealt [with] my case very professionally and has proved extremely helpful. I would recommend anyone to Ms Alam, particularly when in dealing with the hearing meetings regarding Academic matters. She has been considerate with timings and circumstances and has given the best guidance when required. I am grateful to Ms Alam in the way she has advised and helped me to deal with the matter.”
Dr KH, Associate Specialist doctor (University Disciplinary Appeals case)

“Just wanted to say again a very huge thank you.”
LR, Social Worker (GSCC FTP case)

“Just to say thank you for the very wonderful and fab Jan Alam… Your support and encouragement was and is really appreciated.”
DH, Nurse (RGN) (NMC FTP case)

“…this is just a quick note to say THANKYOU for your support through my NMC case. I would not hesitate to refer my fellow colleagues to you if faced with similar situations. Thank you once again, greatly appreciated.”
MC, Nurse (RGN) (NMC FTP case)

For further information please contact our clerks on:

+44 (0) 115 947 2581

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Location:

Postal address:
Ropewalk Chambers
24, The Ropewalk,
Nottingham, NG1 5EF.

Telephone: +44 (0) 115 947 2581

Fax: +44 (0) 115 947 6532

Document Exchange:
DX: 10060 Nottingham 17

Email: clerks@ropewalk.co.uk

Opening hours: 8:00am to 6:00pm

Out of hours:
Tony Hill – 07850 086097
Alan Odiam – 07771 603929

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