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The High Court reviews the consequences of dentists opting out of NHS contracts

11th September 2014

George Hugh-Jones QC has represented a dentist in a case with important ramifications. The case reinforced the view that an NHS contract did not create contractual rights or liabilities. The consequence of this was that the NHS Commissioning Board could not sue in court for breaches of the relevant arrangements alleged to have been committed whilst the arrangements were under an NHS contract. The later creation of an ordinary non-NHS contract could not change that legal history between the parties. The Board had a narrow window to challenge any past breaches by way of dispute resolution. Where a dispute resolution had already taken place, this would be binding. The Board were unable to circumvent the contractual consequences of the arrangements by recourse to equitable remedies in which it was contended that the dentist had been unjustly enriched.

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