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Petition of General Osteopathic Council v. Richard Sobande for interdict and interim interdict [2011] CSOH 39


In this action, the petitioners sought interdict and interim interdict to prevent the respondent from describing himself as an osteopath.

The court heard that the Osteopaths Act 1993 was enacted to provide a statutory scheme for the practice of osteopathy in the UK, with section 3 of the Act designating the conditions for registration as an osteopath. Section 32 of Act provides that it is an offence for anyone to describe themselves as an osteopath in any way, if that individual is not registered as an osteopath under the provisions of the Act. The respondent had sought registration as an osteopath in terms of the Act in 2001, however he did not complete his initial application form correctly. Following an interview to allow the respondent to expand upon his application for registration, it became clear to the petitioners that the respondent was not unqualified nor unsuitable to practice, but that he had failed to take the opportunity to fill out the form appropriately and demonstrate that he was so qualified and suitable. At the end of the registration process, both the assessors and the moderators decided that the respondent should be allowed a conditional registration, so that he would be allowed to practice, on the condition that another osteopath acted as a mentor to him. The net effect of this decision was that the respondent was not fully registered in terms of the Act.

The respondent disagreed with this decision, and continued to describe himself as an osteopath, in breach of the section 32 of the 1993 Act. The Lord Ordinary concluded that the petitioners were able to competently seek a remedy of interdict in terms of the Act, and found the right to that remedy irrefutable in the face of the respondent's continued professional description of himself as an osteopath. Interdict granted.