Ardron v Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust  EWHC 3157 (QB)
Employment law "The Claimant, Dr. Caroline Ardron, is a very experienced consultant psychiatrist employed by the Defendant [Trust]. The Trust considers it appropriate for Dr. Ardron to face disciplinary proceedings for alleged gross misconduct relating to her work at HMP Lewes in late 2015 and early 2016. At that time, Dr. Ardron was the responsible clinician of a young prisoner known as JO, who committed suicide by hanging himself on 12 February 2016. The proposed disciplinary proceedings relate, almost exclusively, to Dr. Ardron's care of JO including her record-keeping in that respect. Dr. Ardron does not suggest that disciplinary proceedings are inappropriate as a matter of principle, or that there is no case of misconduct that could be brought against her. However, she contends that there is no basis for a charge of gross misconduct; a charge which, if established, could potentially lead to the termination of her contract and serious ramifications for her including her prospects of obtaining subsequent employment. On 18 June 2018, an interlocutory injunction was granted by Mr. Pushpinder Saini QC, sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court, which restrained the Trust from proceeding until further order with a disciplinary hearing into gross misconduct. The question for resolution now is whether that injunction should be made permanent. That issue depends upon whether Dr. Ardron can prove that the Trust will breach her contract of employment by holding the proposed disciplinary hearing on a charge of gross misconduct. The Trust's intention to proceed to such a hearing was communicated in its letter to Dr. Ardron dated 20 March 2018, and the issue is therefore whether the Trust should be prevented from operating on the basis of that letter. The resolution of that issue depends principally upon the question of whether the facts found in an investigation into Dr. Ardron's conduct could, taken at their highest, amount to gross misconduct."