Preparing medical experts for the courtroom

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.309.6957.752 (Published 24 September 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:752
  1. J Gulleford

    No need to learn by trial and error

    All professions are having to respond to the irresistible call of the witness box, and the importance of competent and reliable expert witnesses cannot be overestimated in these increasingly litigious times. The potential for disaster for the untrained expert witness, and more importantly for his or her client, is considerable. Yet medical expert witnesses have traditionally learnt their courtroom skills by trial and error.

    Happily for the people who retain their services, this trial and error approach is no longer needed. November sees the launch of a new venture, sponsored by the BMJ, that offers doctors training in the skills required for the witness box (see advertisement in this issue). Queen's Counsels from the chambers of Stephen Coward QC will participate in a series of seminars offering practical training to doctors and will also lecture on preparing the expert's report, collecting evidence, and the responsibilities of the expert witness.

    Doctors who are asked to prepare an expert's report should ensure that they fully …

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