Medico Legal Reports

We have experience in providing preliminary opinion and in writing screening, short form and full formal CPR compliant reports as well as joint expert reports.

Anonymised Physiotherapy Expert witness report by Mark Buckingham

Principles of report writing:

  • The Expert’s duty is to the Court and not to the person instructing him or her.
  • The evidence and opinion is independent, objective, unbiased and is always limited to the particular area of expertise.
  • When an issue is outside the experts expertise it will be made clear.
  • It will also be made clear when they are unable to reach a definite opinion and the reasons why.
  • Where a range of opinion is available this will be discussed in full.
  • The expert will not take on the role of Advocate.
  • The expert will consider all the facts regardless of whether they add or detract from the overall opinion.
  • The expert will comment upon whether actions were ‘reasonably competent’ but will not discuss ‘negligence’. Negligence is a legal question which is the Judges responsibility to decide.

An expert’s report must:

  • Give details of the expert’s qualifications.
  • Give details of any literature or other material which has been relied on in making the report.
  • Contain a statement setting out the substance of all facts and instructions which are material to the opinions expressed in the report or upon which those opinions are based.
  • Make clear which of the facts stated in the report are within the expert’s own knowledge.
  • Say who carried out any examination, measurement, test or experiment which the expert has used for the report, give the qualifications of that person, and say whether or not the test or experiment has been carried out under the expert’s supervision.
  • Where there is a range of opinion on the matters dealt with in the report the expert should:
    • summarise the range of opinions;
    • give reasons for the expert’s own opinion.
  • Contain a summary of the conclusions reached.
  • If the expert is not able to give an opinion without qualification, state the qualification and the reasons for it.
  • Contain a statement that the expert:
    • understands their duty to the court, and has complied with that duty;
    • is aware of the requirements of Part 35, this practice direction and the Protocol for Instruction of Experts to give Evidence in Civil Claims.
  • An expert’s report must be verified by a statement of truth in the following form:
    • I confirm that I have made clear which facts and matters referred to in this report are within my own knowledge and which are not.
    • Those that are within my own knowledge I confirm to be true.
    • The opinions I have expressed represent my true and complete professional opinions on the matters to which they refer.

Meeting lawyers, barristers and court appearances

Meeting lawyers and barristers

After having prepared a report it may be necessary to meet the instructing lawyers to consider the case and answer questions put by the lawyers or other parties. We have experience in this and in the procedures and preparation work required to allow meetings to move smoothly.

Giving evidence in court

In Physiotherapy cases this is rare but we have invaluable experience of the court process and are comfortable with Barristers, giving evidence and cross examination.

Deadlines

It is understood that since April 2013 the Courts have applied stricter measures with regard to Court deadlines, orders and extensions. It is therefore understood that once instructions have been accepted every effort must be made to comply with the Court dates as set, including court appearances.

Joint expert reports

We have experience in meeting with other experts and following these discussions to prepare a joint report for submission to the court.

The Joint Report

  • The goal of a joint report is to get a comprehensive document that answers all the questions posed by the lawyers.
  • Where there is disagreement, reasons need to be given as the reports purpose is to inform the lawyers (and other experts) what is in issue, and why.
  • It is important for the lawyers to know why in order to be able to assess who is more likely to persuade a judge to his view.
  • This allows the lawyers to have informed discussions about settlement, or decide to have a trial.
  • The joint statement should be succinct, but comprehensive.

Further details and education

Further reading and instruction is taken from Part 35 Civil Procedure Rules and Practice Directions, the CJC protocol for the Instruction of Experts and the GMC Guide on Acting as an Expert Witness.

We have also taken courses in report writing run by the MCLAP, our professional body for medico legal work.