If you’re a doctor or health care professional, you know that the law can be a tricky thing to navigate. This blog post is designed to provide you with some helpful tips on instances where you are appearing as a witness.
As a doctor, you may find yourself being called as an expert witness in court cases. This often happens with patients subject to domestic violence. The police may contact you to get your statement or even subpoena you to attend court to give evidence.
In these circumstances:
- You are entitled to conduct money if your records are subpoenaed.
- You are entitled to conduct money (witness) if you need to go to court.
- If you cannot appear in person, you can seek leave to appear VIA Audio Visual Link from your local court or police station.
Additionally, as a doctor you may be approached to provide an expert report in several other scenarios; for example:
- Your evidence to be used in relation to someone’s mental capacity in probate matters
- Medical reports for use in medical negligence litigation
- By Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency regarding the conduct or treatment performed by another doctor
- In suspicious deaths (coronial matters)
- Reports prepared under S32 Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 (NSW) applications if you are a psychologist/Psychiatrist
In the above examples, you do not have to give evidence only if you have the expertise, experience & time to do so. Don’t forget that you can charge for your time.
Include a part in your report detailing your expertise in the subject matter of the report by adding your CV and publications.
Familiarise yourself with the relevant Code of Conduct for witnesses under Schedule 7 of Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW). Refer to the relevant code of conduct in your report and acknowledge your compliance with it. Use plain English
If you are ever asked to be an expert witness, remember the following tips.
First, always consult with your legal counsel to make sure you understand the specific parameters of the case and what is expected of you.
Second, take the time to thoroughly review all the relevant documentation so that you can provide accurate information in your statement/report.
Third, spend some time preparing ahead of time so that you feel comfortable answering any questions that may come up during cross-examination.
Finally, remain professional at all times and be respectful of both sides in the courtroom.
By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure a successful experience as an expert witness and help to bring about a fair resolution for all involved parties.
Contact us today for any legal questions.
This is NOT legal advice and should NOT be relied as such.
For legal queries, please contact us on 02 8014 5818 or email firstname.lastname@example.org