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Abstract from

The Margins of Professional Regulation: Disjunctions, Dilemmas and Deterrence

Ian Freckelton is a Barrister, Lawyer Member, Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria, Psychologists Registration Board of Victoria and Honorary Professor, La Trobe Law, Melbourne, Australia.

Diverse and complex dynamics now impact upon regulation of health practitioners. Much can be gleaned, though, by scrutinising the margins of regulation where distinctions can be illustrative of lingering ideological tendencies and can result in confusion. The article examines the amenability to regulation of conduct by health practitioners that occurs outside the context of their professional work and yet which may impact upon trust reposed in them as health practitioners and in their profession more generally. It identifies too uncertainty about whether the principle of witness immunity can be invoked to protect health practitioners from regulation in respect of their forensic conduct. It argues that such an interpretation would constitute a confusion of public interests. It contends that the effects upon the reputation and standing of health practitionersí professions of any form of conduct should be an important consideration in determining whether it should be addressed by regulatory decision-making bodies.

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