Medical experts and the criminal courts

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7397.1037/a (Published 10 May 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1037

This article has a correction. Please see:

Meaningful audit could be difficult to attain

  1. John A M Gall, forensic physician (johngall@bigpond.com)
  1. Australian Forensic and Medico-Legal Practitioners, PO Box 2491, Kew 3101, Australia
  2. Redroofs, Windmill Lane, Arkley, Hertfordshire EN5 3HX

    EDITOR—Although I agree with Milroy, I think it unfortunate that he did not extend his editorial to propose a system for the auditing and assessment of quality in medicolegal work.1 Experience shows that meaningful audit could be very difficult to attain for many reasons that include the following five.

    The first is the legal system. The adversarial system is simply one of winning and not one of finding the truth. This encourages the use of “hired guns” and brings pressure on experts from both sides to provide “favourable” reports in the interests of maintaining client satisfaction and obtaining further medicolegal work.

    The second is the absence of evidence based forensic medicine. Properly conducted research in the field has been comparatively …

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