Wednesday, 10 August, 2022
HomeMedico-LegalHigh Court dismisses psychologist’s stay of inquiry bid

High Court dismisses psychologist’s stay of inquiry bid

An application by psychologist Christie Els for a permanent stay of inquiry proceedings against her by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) has been dismissed by Western Cape High Court Judge Ashley Binns-Ward.

The Cape Argus reports the case goes back to mid-2013 when Els was appointed as a facilitator by the Cape Town Children’s Court in a dispute about care and contact between the parents of a young boy. In December 2013, two people, who were not involved in the case before the Children’s Court, but who Els alleged in court papers were friends of the child’s mother, had made an urgent application seeking an interim interdict postponing an inquiry by the HPCSA into Els’ professional conduct.

A preliminary committee of the HPCSA determined that Els had acted unprofessionally. As her conduct was considered only a minor transgression she was invited to pay an admission of guilt fine of R50,000 per complaint. Els rejected the preliminary committee’s findings, and declined to pay the fine, which meant that the registrar of the HPCSA had to convene a hearing for the trial of the complaints.

The case against Els at the HPCSA was founded on an opinion obtained by the board of her professional body from Professor Salome Human-Vogel of the University of Pretoria.

However, Appendix A to her report disappeared and this became an issue during the course of her evidence before the HPCSA. Unsatisfied with the Appendix A issue, Els turned to the High Court where the central pillar of her case for a permanent stay was the prejudice she said she would suffer if the inquiry were permitted to run its course. But Binns-Ward ruled: “The evidence given by Els … has not persuaded me she is likely to be able to persuade a court seized of her application for a permanent stay that the disappearance of Appendix A to Professor Vogel’s report has caused, or will occasion, her irremediable prejudice.”


Cape Argus Pressreader article ¬ – Psychologist loses stay of inquiry bid (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Gynae with ‘history of misconduct’ benefits from HPCSA ‘bungle’


Depression not an excuse for employee misconduct – Labour Appeal Court


Gauteng Health drags its heels on professional misconduct reports



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