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R (on the application of Hidden Hearing Ltd) v The Hearing Aid Council

DATE: 22 Jan 2009

Mr Justice Simon today gave judgment in R (on the application of Hidden Hearing Ltd) v The Hearing Aid Council [2009] EWHC 63 (Admin).

The Hearing Aid Council ("the Council") was established by the Hearing Aid Act 1968 to register persons engaged in the supply of hearing aids, to advise on the training of persons engaged in such business, and to regulate trade practices.

This was the first time the Council had ever been judicially reviewed.

The claim was brought by Hidden Hearing Ltd one of the main hearing aid dispensers in the UK.

The case concerned a Guidance Note issued by the Council which Hidden alleged was misleading as regards the definition of "dispensing" in the 1968 Act in suggesting that the fitting of hearing aids and post-fitting rehabilitation work might constitute dispensing. Under the 1968 a “dispenser of hearing aids” is defined as "an individual who conducts or seeks to conduct oral negotiations with a view to effecting the supply of a hearing aid, whether by him or another, to or for the use of a person with impaired hearing; and references to the dispensing of hearing aids or to acting as a dispenser of such aids shall be construed accordingly".

The learned Judge dismissed the application for judicial review.

James Maurici appeared for the Hearing Aid Council instructed by Beachcroft LLP