Standard of proof for disciplinaries could change

18 Jan 2020

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By Josh Loeb

The RCVS is in advanced discussions about adopting a lower standard of proof in disciplinary hearings for vets and registered vet nurses (RVNs).

The move, which would bring the college into line with other professional regulators, could lead to more charges against vets and RVNs being proven.

The college’s council is expected to make a decision about the matter in the near future.

Currently, the RCVS uses the criminal standard of proof, whereby allegations must be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Since the college is one of the last, if not the last, remaining UK regulators to use this standard, it is open to a legal challenge.

Use of the criminal standard places a relatively high burden on the college when attempting to prove the truth of allegations made against vets. By contrast, ‘on the balance of probabilities’ – the standard used by other regulators and...