It’s not about undermining other doctors

Caren Scott addresses the myths about the role of the expert witness and emphasises the need for experienced clinicians with a current practice to provide impartial opinion to the court to ensure justice for claimants and defendants.

Expert witnesses are key players in the administration of justice. The evidence of an expert is relied upon by both parties to narrow the issues being disputed in a case and informs the judge in reaching their decision.  

In medical negligence litigation, the court is likely to hear expert evidence about the standard of care the claimant should have received and did receive and the impact of this on their condition and prognosis.  

It may come as a surprise to learn that judges are not experienced in every area of the law. So, when a clinical negligence or personal injury case goes to court, it is essential to have reliable, independent clinical experts who can explain to the judge exactly what the key medical issues in the case are and to give their unbiased opinion regarding these issues.  

Isn’t it disloyal to criticise colleagues in court?

Some medical professionals feel there is a stigma attached to participating in the litigation process; perhaps a fear that others will see them as being out to undermine the practice of colleagues.