Appeal against a GOC decision to refuse a student admission

Student member, Rupa's story

What happened

Photo pending

Rupa (not her real name) had applied for student registration with the General Optical Council (GOC) but was refused, due to a declaration on her application that she had been convicted of theft a few years previously and had received a conditional discharge.

How we helped

We allocated Rupa a dedicated AOP solicitor and instructed her to obtain all relevant documents illustrating that she had disclosed her conviction on her university and employment application forms. Rupa’s solicitor also assisted her to draft a witness statement setting out what happened.

With our support, Rupa appealed the GOC’s decision and a registration appeal panel hearing was convened. Rupa spoke at the hearing and her AOP-appointed barrister submitted evidence regarding her candidness throughout her career to-date when disclosing her conviction on the relevant application forms.

The panel also heard that Rupa was a highly valued and trustworthy member of staff at the practice where she worked and received positive references from her colleagues, store managers, and friends and family attesting to the regret and remorse shown in connection with her past actions.

The outcome

The panel agreed with the AOP’s submissions and decided to admit Rupa to the student register, noting that she was fit to undertake training as an optometrist, that her past behaviour was not a true guide as to her future conduct and her actions were highly unlikely to be repeated in a way which would diminish the reputation of the profession.