Information for dental professionals and their representatives
Guidance and independent advice
The Dental Professionals Hearings Service (Hearings Service) administers and facilitates hearings to determine the fitness to practise of dental professionals. All 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 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 Interim Orders Committee hearings
You can find additional independent sources of advice and support on our support page for dental professionals.
All references to the Act and Rules are:
- The Dentist Act 1984 (as amended)
- The General Dental Counci (Fitness to Practise) Rule of Council 2006 (and the GDC (Fitness to Practise) (Amendment) rules Order of Council 2016)
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 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 hearings page.
Our Overview of Practice Committee decision-making process 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 hearing.
Representation and legal advice
Throughout the GDC investigation and your 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 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 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 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 hearing
Hearings are held at our hearing centre in London or remotely using MS Teams. How your 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 hearing requirements and dates.
Most of our hearings are held in public.
You can attend a 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.
Arriving for your hearing
Our hearing centre is open from 8:30am to 6:00pm.
Hearings normally take place from 9:30am until 5:00pm. We schedule a lunch break and shorter breaks throughout the hearing. The dates for your 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 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 hearings at weekends.