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Charter Case Committee Protocol


  1. The Supplementary Royal Charter 2015 (the Charter), requires the RCVS to set, uphold and advance veterinary standards, and to promote, encourage and advance the study and practice of the art and science of veterinary surgery and medicine, in the interests of the health and welfare of animals and in the wider public interest.  The Charter also broadens the functions of the RCVS, allowing for a more flexible approach when dealing with some concerns relating to professional conduct.
  2. The RCVS recognises that, in some cases, the public interest can be served without the need for a Disciplinary Committee (DC) hearing even where there is a realistic prospect that the DC would find the veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse guilty of serious professional misconduct (known as ‘the realistic prospect test’).  This protocol allows for those cases to be dealt with in an alternative and more proportionate way, whilst still protecting the public interest.
  3. Using its powers under the Charter, the RCVS has established a committee to deal with such cases.  This committee is known as the Charter Case Committee (CCC).

Referral to the CCC

  1. The Preliminary Investigation Committee (PIC) or Veterinary Nurses Preliminary Investigation Committee (VN PIC) may refer cases to the CCC where it is satisfied that the realistic prospect test has been met but where the public interest can be served by one of the outcomes set out at paragraph 7 of this protocol and without referral to DC for a hearing.  When deciding whether to refer a case to the CCC, the PIC or VN PIC will consider all relevant factors, including the following:

    1. the seriousness of any allegations;
    2. admissions that have been made;
    3. the level of insight demonstrated;
    4. the complainant’s view;
    5. any relevant mitigation;
    6. the previous history of the veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse;
    7. whether there is any risk to animal welfare or the wider public interest in dealing with the matter in the way proposed;
    8. the risk of repetition and steps taken to address the concerns raised;
    9. the time that has elapsed since the alleged incident/s.
  2. The PIC or VN PIC may refer suitable cases to the CCC where a veterinary surgeon or Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) disputes the allegations made, provided that the matters disputed do not require resolution by DC.
  3. Consent from the veterinary surgeon or RVN is not required to refer a case to the CCC, however consent will be sought and obtained where possible.

Powers of the CCC

  1. The CCC may:

    1. issue a public warning, to be published on the RCVS website/in the RCVS register for specified period;
    2. issue a confidential warning; or
    3. refer cases back to the PIC or VN PIC.
  2. The CCC may only refer cases back to the PIC or VN PIC where:

    1. the CCC does not agree that the case is suitable to be dealt with under this protocol; or
    2. new information is provided that renders the case unsuitable to be dealt with under this protocol.
  3. When deciding which of the above outcomes is most suitable in a particular case, the CCC will consider all relevant factors, including those set out at paragraph 4.

CCC process

  1. When a case is referred by the PIC or VN PIC, and the CCC agrees that it is suitable to be dealt with under this protocol, the CCC will notify the veterinary surgeon or RVN that the case has been referred and considered.  This notification will include:

    1. details of the proposed warning (see 18);
    2. whether the CCC intends to publish the warning and if so, for how long.
  2. The CCC will also invite the veterinary surgeon or RVN to consent to the proposed outcome, or to make representations if they believe a different outcome is more appropriate.  If the veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse agrees to the proposed course of action, they will be invited to confirm this in writing.
  3. Once the veterinary surgeon or RVN has responded to the notification and the CCC is satisfied it has sufficient information, a final decision will be issued.  If no consent is given, the CCC may still deal with the case in the way proposed and will give reasons for this as part of its final decision.
  4. Warnings will be published twenty eight days after the final decision has been issued, i.e. sent to the veterinary surgeon or RVN. (subject  to Review as set out in paragraph 24)  The RCVS will not publish:

    1. any confidential information, including that relating to clients or health conditions;
    2. information that may prejudice other legal proceedings or legal, regulatory or disciplinary investigations;
    3. information which directly relates to the private and family life of the veterinary surgeon or RVN concerned;
    4. references to identifiable third parties.
  5. If the veterinary surgeon or RVN does not engage with the CCC, the CCC may still proceed as proposed however it must be satisfied that the practitioner is aware of the proposed course of action.
  6. The CCC is not bound by its proposal until the final decision has been issued.  If the CCC is provided with further information that means the case is no longer suitable to be dealt with under this protocol, it may refer the matter back to the PIC or VN PIC for consideration.


  1. Warnings state that an aspect of a practitioner’s past practice or conduct was unacceptable and that this should not be repeated.  Their purpose is to maintain professional standards and help prevent future breaches of the Code of Professional Conduct (‘the Code’) by the individual concerned, and in the case of public warnings, all professionals regulated by the RCVS.
  2. Warnings may be confidential or public, meaning they are published on the RCVS [website/register].  By publishing warnings in suitable cases, the RCVS can restate publicly what the Code requires in particular situations, which helps to promote and maintain professional standards.
  3. Warnings issued by the CCC will set out:

    1. the area of concern;
    2. the relevant code provisions and supporting guidance;
    3. the reasons for issuing the warning or advice.
  4. A warning will remain on the RCVS [website/register] for a maximum of six months however the exact length of time in each case will be a matter for the CCC and depend upon the facts of that case.
  5. Warnings will remain on an individual’s file for a period of two years, after which time they will be removed.

Status of warnings

  1. Warnings issued by the CCC will not affect a veterinary surgeon’s or RVN’s registration status.  However, veterinary surgeons and RVNs should bear in mind that they may need to declare such warnings to employers, insurance bodies and other organisations.  Details of a warning may also be provided to relevant bodies by the RCVS (e.g. employers or overseas regulatory bodies) where appropriate and in the public interest.
  2. If concerns are raised about an individual who has been subject to a warning in the past, the PIC, VN PIC, DC, VN DC or CCC may take that warning into account unless the advice or warning was issued more than two years ago and no longer appears on the file.


  1. Decisions by the CCC will only be eligible for review where:

    1. the decision may be materially flawed, or
    2. there is new information which may have led to a different decision.
  2. In addition, the Registrar must be satisfied that the review is in the public interest or is necessary to prevent injustice to the veterinary surgeon or RVN. Further, cases where the veterinary surgeon or RVN has consented to the warning will not be eligible for review. Requests for review must be submitted to the  Registrar in writing within twenty one days of it being issued (as per 13 above).

    Where the above criteria are met, reviews will be carried out by a differently constituted CCC.