Sir Robert Francis QC

Associate Member

Call 1973 | Silk 1992

Sir Robert Francis QC | Call 1973 | Silk 1992

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Robert appears on behalf of practitioners before professional conduct committees of regulatory bodies such as the General Medical Council, the General Dental Council and on appeals from them to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council or the High Court. He has sat as a legal assessor to professional disciplinary committees of the General Optical Council and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists. Chambers & Partners ranks him in its top band for professional discipline, noting “he’s cool and unflappable, and has a huge air of authority in court.”

Professional Discipline & Regulatory

“He has a brain the size of a planet; his advice is always absolutely bang-on”
Chambers & Partners

Robert wins landmark appeal concerning expert evidence in shaken baby syndrome trials: Robert was instructed on behalf of Dr Waney Squier.
A copy of the judgment is available on our website here

Experience & expertise

Robert chaired the Mid-Staffordshire Public Inquiry and the NHS Freedom to Speak Up Review. He appears regularly in judicial reviews and cases concerning regulatory matters.

cases & work of note

  • GMC v Squier, MPTS Fitness to Practice Tribunal, October 2015 – March 2016 (allegations of serious misconduct in misleading evidence given in child abuse cases)
  • R (Squier) v General Medical Council [2015] EWHC 299 (Admin) (admissibility of judicial criticism as evidence against doctor in GMC proceedings)
  • Cheatle v General Medical Council [2009] EWHC 645 (Admin) (meaning of impairment of fitness to practice – effect of suspension on employment)
  • Zygmunt v General Medical Council [2008] EWHC 2643 (Admin) (Appellate jurisdiction – meaning of impairment of fitness to practice)
  • Hutchinson v General Dental Council  [2008] EWHC 2896 (Admin) (Application of standard of proof)
  • R (Dowd) v General Medical Council Admin [2003] All ER(D) 310 (serious professional misconduct – meaning)
  • Pembrey v General Medical Council [2003] All ER(D) 275 (PC) (serious professional misconduct – treatment of mentally incompetent patients)
  • R (Cream) v General Medical Council (Administrative Court, 31/1/02) (serious professional misconduct – meaning
  • R (Nicolaides) v General Medical Council Admin Ct [2001] EWHC Admin 625 (Whether evidence untrue – serious professional misconduct)
  • Borges v General Medical Council (Privy Council Appeal No 71 of 2000) (unreported 31/8/01) (serious professional misconduct)
  • Roylance v General Medical Council [1999] Lloyd’s Rep Med 139 Privy Council (serious professional misconduct: chief executive of Trust; alleged bias of Chairman)


“A wonderful, eminent practitioner who is also approachable.”
Chambers & Partners

‘He has an enormous capacity for hard work.’
The Legal 500

“He’s cool and unflappable, and has a huge air of authority in court. He is a very, very wise owl, who is experienced and knows his subject backwards.”
Chambers & Partners

“He combines his strong regulatory practice with related strengths in clinical negligence and public law.”
The Legal 500

“Particularly well-known for his work in the medical field.”
The Legal 500

“A major figure in the professional discipline and regulatory field, who is recognised for his public inquiry and judicial review work. He robustly defends matters and is a very reassuring presence.”
Chambers & Partners

“An obviously huge figure at the Professional Discipline Bar, Robert Francis QC is an extremely shrewd operator and a delight to deal with who wins plaudits for his robust approach to defending his clients and his reassuring personal touch. This defence specialist acts on behalf of a range of professionals on complex discipline cases, and also has extensive experience of heading high-profile public inquiries.”
Chambers & Partners

“Robert Francis QC is a seasoned veteran of professional disciplinary and regulatory law who has a great track record and a powerful presence.”
The Legal 500