CIMA spent £179,000 on May’s misconduct case

CIMA has spent £179,000 pursuing a misconduct case against former council member Margaret May.

May was reprimanded for misconduct and “failing to act with integrity and professionalism” and ordered to pay costs of £55,000 to CIMA.

May’s total legal expenses came to £41,000, meaning May is liable for almost £100,000 in total. Her lawyer, Garrett Byrne said the average cost handed down for offences in CIMA misconduct cases is around £2,000.

May said she is “naturally very disappointed” about the verdict and will pursue her case through appeal and judicial review if necessary. Byrne said he will be representing her throughout.

She was originally accused of violating the code of ethics and misconduct. The first charge was found proved, while the misconduct charge was partially proved and partially thrown out.

Referring to the charge of misconduct, the tribunal panel ruled she was within her rights to send an email discussing possible risks associated with chief executive Charles Tilley’s non-executive directorship of Great Ormond Street Hospital.

In it, she said: “Surely [Tilley] should resign”, following negative coverage of GOSH in the wake of the Baby P case.

The panel said May’s costs “would have been at least 50% of the total, were it not for her limited means”.

The tribunal chairman said he was “strongly of the view” that May should have accepted a “very favourable offer” from CIMA not to proceed with the case if she agreed to resign from the council in December 2010.

The institute wanted to prevent May from discussing the case, while retaining its own right to talk about it within CIMA.

However, May rejected this offer on the basis that CIMA refused to adhere to the same confidentiality terms as it sought to impose upon her. She subsequently resigned in June 2011.

Since December 2010, CIMA has spent almost £95,000 on pre-trial costs and £66,000 on the trial, which was held over six days at the offices of Allen & Overy.

May’s defence touches on “politics” at the institute and her lawyer accused CIMA committee members of “wanting to advance their own agenda at the expense of others”.

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