FAQs - I am required to appear as a witness

How am I notified?

The Commission prosecutes disciplinary complaints against registered health practitioners before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal or a Professional Standards Committee (PSC).

If you have complained to the Commission or provided a statement or information and/or documentation to the Commission in relation to a complaint the Commission is prosecuting you may be asked to attend the hearing as a witness and give oral evidence.

The Commission’s legal officer will contact you when your matter is scheduled for hearing. You may also receive a Summons to Appear and Give Evidence. The Commission’s Legal Officer will advise you of the hearing date and venue and any further preparatory steps that may be necessary.

Is there a difference between a Tribunal and a Professional Standards Committee hearing?

Hearings regarding registered health practitioners before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal are open to the public. The Tribunal consists of four members. The proceedings are recorded and transcribed.

Professional Standards Committees are also open to the public. The Committee consists of four members, and the Chairperson is legally qualified.

What happens on the day of the hearing before I commence my evidence?

As a witness you will not be present during the opening stages of the hearing. All witnesses must wait outside the hearing room until they are called to give evidence. Please be patient and come prepared to wait until the PSC or Tribunal calls you. The Commission will attempt to organise a time that will suit you.

When you are called, you will be introduced you to the various parties in the room.

At the hearing, who will be questioning me?

If you give evidence before NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, you will first be asked questions by the barrister representing the Commission. In general, you will have met and spoken to this barrister before. You will then be cross-examined by the lawyer appearing for the practitioner, or the practitioner, if they represent themself. Finally, you may be asked questions by the Tribunal members. At the conclusion of your evidence, you may be excused. You may leave the hearing room or you may remain inside to hear the further proceedings.

If you give evidence before a PSC, you will first be asked questions by the Commission’s Legal Officer or barrister who you will have met and spoken to before. You may then be cross-examined by the practitioner or by his or her legal representative. Finally, the PSC members may have some questions for you.

How do I give evidence?

It is the usual practice to meet with the Commission’s legal officer or barrister prior to giving evidence. In general, however, when giving evidence speak slowly and clearly. Don’t be rushed by anyone. If you do not know or do not recall something, say so in your answer. If you do not understand the question, ask for it to be repeated. Do not guess the answer to questions.

What happens after I have given evidence?

The Tribunal or PSC will make a decision about the complaint whether or not it found the complaint proved when it has heard all the evidence and final submissions have been made by both parties. A written decision will generally be published within 4-6 weeks, but it may take longer in some cases.

Some cases then will go to a second hearing stage regarding what would be the appropriate protective measures to impose on the practitioner to protect the health or safety of the public.

The Commission will advise you of the outcome and provide you with a copy of the decision. Decisions by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Professional Standards Committees are usually published online and are available through the Commission's website.

Please note that there may be non-publication orders in relation to personal details of persons and/or the subject matter of the complaint.