Publications & Insights The High Court has rejected an application from a Cosmetic Clinic operator to obtain Medical Council files
Share This

The High Court has rejected an application from a Cosmetic Clinic operator to obtain Medical Council files

Tuesday, 26 March 2024

The High Court has rejected an application made by the operator and a director of a cosmetic enhancement clinic who had requested to be provided with certain documentation from the Medical Council (the “Council”) as part of a challenge against the Preliminary Proceedings Committee’s (“PPC’s”) decision to investigate the clinic’s employment of another doctor, Dr Maher Anous. 

The documentation sought was part of a Judicial Review application brought by RAS Medical Clinic, trading as Auralia Cosmetic Clinic (the “Clinic”) and Dr Ahmed Salman, who is the clinic’s lead surgeon and director, against the PPC. 

In 2021, a complaint was made to the Council by a woman who alleged that she was inappropriately examined by Dr Anous at the Clinic. At the time that the complaint was made, Dr Anous was not registered with the Council to practice medicine in Ireland and he was also facing ongoing disciplinary proceedings in California, which he had also allegedly failed to disclose to the clinic and Dr Salman. 

Arising out of this complaint, an application was made pursuant to Section 60 of the Medical Practitioner’s Act 2007 (the “Act”) and Dr Anous’ registration was ultimately suspended. 

A subsequent complaint was made against Dr Salman by the Council itself for engaging Dr Anous while he was not registered with the Council, which was referred to the PPC for investigation. Judicial Review proceedings in respect of that decision were initiated by the Clinic and Dr Salman, in which they claim that the Clinic had not knowingly employed an unregistered doctor and that the PPC’s decision to investigate him should be discontinued. 

As part of their challenge against the PPC’s decision, Dr Salman and the Clinic claim that persons within the Council who referred the complaint to the PPC had also attended the meetings of the PPC. As such, it is claimed that this would be a breach of fair procedures and natural justice and would subsequently deny them the possibility of receiving a fair investigation. In their Judicial Review proceedings, Dr Salman and the clinic seek various orders and declarations restraining the PPC from considering the matter referred to it by the Council. 

As part of the preliminary application, they also sought certain relevant documentation they claimed they would require in order to advance their Judicial Review proceedings. 

The categories of material sought included documentation and reports that are relevant to any consideration given to ensure the membership of the Medical Council and the PPC would not overlap in cases where the Council was the complainant as well as all material relating to complaints initiated by the Council in advance of a complaint being referred to the PPC. 

The Council opposed the preliminary application on the grounds that it had provided sufficient information to Dr Salman and the Clinic and that the information sought was not relevant to their ability to bring their Judicial Review application. In refusing the preliminary application, Ms Justice Geary held that the Clinic and Dr Salman failed to show that the information and the documents previously provided by the Council were insufficient to allow them to proceed with their Judicial Review application. 

It is likely that the substantive Judicial Review proceedings will soon take place to determine whether the PPC can proceed with its investigation or whether it will be restrained from doing so

For more information contact Partner Eoin McGlinchey or Solicitor Kavi Abbi from the Litigation and Dispute Resolution team.