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Dental Professionals and their representatives


Information for dental professionals and their representatives

Guidance and independent advice

The Dental Professionals Hearings Service (Hearings Service) administers and facilitates fitness to practise hearings to determine the fitness to practise of dental professionals. All fitness to practise hearings are held before a statutory committees made up of three independent panellists, including a dental professional.

Those who have a case referred to the fitness to practise hearing service may want to seek advice from their indemnity provider, defence organisation, or a legal professional.

Our guidance for dental professionals is for those subject to a substantive fitness to practise initial or review hearing. Separate guidance for registrants has been produced for PDFInterim Orders Committee hearings (228.18 KB)

You can find additional independent sources of advice and support on our support page for dental professionals.

If you need any support to help you take part in your fitness to practise hearing, please email or call 020 7167 6068.

Legislative framework

All references to the Act and Rules are:

The information we provide does not constitute legal advice, and we cannot provide legal advice or tell you how to respond to the case against you.

Committees and our role

Your case may be referred to us during or following an investigation into your fitness to practise by the General Dental Council (GDC). Our role is to facilitate the fitness to practise hearing of your case.

Your case could be heard by one of a number of statutory committees. The committee that hears your case will be determined by the GDC's Case Examiners. You can find out more about each committee and their roles on the Types of fitness to practise hearings page.

Our PDFOverview of Practice Committee decision-making process (153.79 KB) will provide you with an overview of what will happen when your case is referred to the Hearing Service. It may assist you when preparing for your fitness to practise hearing.

Throughout the GDC investigation and your fitness to practise hearing, you have the right to:

  • be legally represented
  • represent yourself
  • be represented by a member of an organisation of which you’re a member
  • be represented by a friend or family member, whether legally qualified or not.

If you’re attending the fitness to practise hearing and aren’t legally represented, you’ll have the opportunity to meet the committee’s independent legal adviser and the GDC’s representative before the fitness to practise hearing starts.

The independent legal adviser’s role is to assist the committee and advise them on any questions of law that arise throughout the fitness to practise hearing. The independent legal adviser cannot provide you, or any other parties to proceedings, with any legal advice. The legal adviser can explain the process and answer any questions you may have.

Find out more about other forms of support and assistance.

Location and format of your fitness to practise hearing

Fitness to practise hearings are held at our hearing centre in London or remotely using MS Teams. How your fitness to practise hearing will take place will be decided on as part of our pre-hearing case management process which may involve telephone conferences when we speak to you and the GDC’s legal team representative about your fitness to practise hearing requirements and dates.

Most of our fitness to practise hearings are held in public.

You can attend a fitness to practise hearing at any time if you think it would be helpful to see the room and observe before your case is heard. Please submit a request to attend a public hearing on our website.

You can find directions to our building and information about nearby train stations and bus stops on our Contact Us page.

Arriving for your fitness to practise hearing

Our fitness to practise centre is open from 8:30am to 6:00pm.

Fitness to practise hearings normally take place from 9:30am until 5:00pm. We schedule a lunch break and shorter breaks throughout the fitness to practise hearing. The dates for your fitness to practise hearing will be confirmed in the Notice of Hearing.

Please report to the reception desk when you arrive, and a member of our team will show you where to wait with your legal representative (if you have one).

Try to arrive at least 30 minutes before your fitness to practise hearing is due to start. Arriving early allows time for you to familiarise yourself with the environment and gather your thoughts.

We do not hold fitness to practise hearings at weekends.