There was no evidence that having a legal adviser present during Medical Council deliberations in a disciplinary hearing was unfair, the Court of Final Appeal heard yesterday. The case is the second surrounding the role of the council's legal adviser to be heard by a court in the past week. In 2006, the council had found Dr Chan Hei-ling guilty of professional misconduct for promoting a vitamin brand owned by a company of which she was managing director. Chan appealed to the Court of Appeal, which heard evidence that the adviser had been present during deliberations and had prepared the first draft of the council's decision. The Court of Appeal found in favour of the doctor. Announcing the court's decision, Mrs Justice Doreen Le Pichon said legislation did not allow the legal adviser to be present during deliberations or to draft its decision. The court granted the council leave to appeal to the top court, which began hearing the case yesterday. Lord Pannick QC, for the council, said the adviser's presence did not breach the tribunal's fairness or impartiality. 'The presence of a legal adviser is not enough to render the proceedings unfair or create the perception of unfairness,' Pannick said. He said the council's approach was in line with legislation. It was up to the tribunal to decide what processes to adopt unless there was legislation prohibiting the procedure or the procedure breached fairness and impartiality. However, Chan's lawyer, Michael Thomas SC, said: 'If you have a tribunal whose responsibility it is to reach its own decision, it undermines their impartiality if there is with them a person who makes the draft decision for them.' Chan's is not the only case to have gone to appeal in the past few days. On Friday, the Court of Appeal rejected the appeal of Dr Ip Wing-kin, whom the council had found guilty of misconduct for charging a man HK$4,180 for tests that laboratories had conducted for HK$1,575 in 2006. Ip had argued that the legal adviser should restrict himself to assisting in questions of law, but the court disagreed. Chan's appeal continues before Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary, Mr Justice Patrick Chan Siu-oi, Mr Justice Roberto Ribeiro, Mr Justice Barry Mortimer and Lord Justice Millett.