Devon Primary Care Trust judgement in High Court
DevonPCT judgement
An account of the suspension, contingent removal and termination of Devon GP Dr Roger Stephenson's contract, the subsequent High Court judgement against Devon Primary Care Trust and ongoing developments in this case.
High Court judgement 10th July 2009.

After the FHSAA first allowed, then dismissed his appeal on 17th March 2009, photo of High Court of Justice Dr Stephenson appealed to the High Court.  Devon PCT opposed this appeal.  On 10th July 2009, in the Royal Courts of Justice, London, before the Honourable Mr Justice Burton and after criticism from the Judge, Devon PCT agreed a Consent Order overturning the Contingent Removal.  Dr Stephenson was represented by James Leonard in his appeal, and the PCT by Saima Hanif and Bevan Brittan (solicitors).

To see the Sealed Court Order (10th July 2009) reversing the Contingent Removal and ordering Devon PCT to pay costs, please click here (.pdf).
It is noteworthy that the revised decision (allowing Dr Stephenson’s appeal against the Contingent Removal) was agreed by Counsel for the Respondent – i.e. Devon PCT.

The full official transcript of the hearing can be seen here (.pdf).
(NB the references to FHSA should refer to the FHSAA – the Family Health Services Appeal Authority.)

Highlights of Judge Burton’s comments taken from the transcript:

  • “I have never heard such nonsense as a suggestion that this is an academic appeal.”

  • “The whole thing, from what I can see, is one of the worst wastes of, in this case, professional money that I have seen.”

  • “On the basis of the enormous amount of money and costs that have been thrown at this case, I had read the case and I formed a very strong view indeed about it.”

  • “I take the view that this was a complete mess from beginning to end.”

  • “There must be something behind it all which I do not want to inquire into.”

  • “...the extraordinary decision to conclude [the FHSAA appeal process] without having considered the facts at all.”

  • “...your client [Dr Stephenson] was making the same noises as have in fact resulted in the agreement today. It could not be a clearer case for the ordering of costs.”

  • “...a waste of costs by this body [Devon PCT] which has much more important things to do.”

James Leonard
photo of James Leonard QC
High Court Costs
In the High Court, the PCT agreed that Dr Stephenson’s proposal that his appeal (against their 18 September 2008 decision to Contingently Remove him) was allowed, but resisted paying his costs. However the judge ordered the PCT to pay Dr Stephenson’s legal fees of £8,508.75 (inc vat) plus their own costs of £10,342.60 (which with vat @15% would make a grand total of £20,402.74).

Latest - High Court Hearing April 2014:

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