Doctors who act as expert witnesses may be required to present their evidence in a variety of courts. The witness box is a lonely place and expert witnesses can feel they’re on trial, standing in the dock rather than giving independent testimony to assist the court.
Doubt may be cast on their expertise, experience, notes, records, method of analysis, opinion and the procedures followed by them. Often experts are unfamiliar with this environment, as few cases go to a full trial. But a poor performance can undermine confidence and credibility.
The GMC’s Good Medical Practice “Understanding your Role as an Expert Witness” states that all doctors who act as an expert witness should consider undertaking training for this role and should make sure that they understand how to give oral evidence.
This one-day course is an intensive and highly practical day. The role of the medical expert in court, the procedures for giving evidence, the order of events, the roles of different people in courts and the process of giving evidence will be explained.
The techniques lawyers use to disconcert and discredit medical experts and how to handle them will be examined. In the afternoon a number of mock courts are set up and the delegates will have the opportunity to experience being cross-examined by a barrister on a medical case study.
Key learning points
- Gain an overview of how the court system works.
- Understand your role as an independent educator of the court.
- Identify key skills of presenting effective opinion-based evidence.
- Determine the techniques lawyers use in cross-examination and how to handle them.
- Express an opinion based on the foundation of fact.
- Learn how to give confident, clear testimony under cross-examination.
The course will be led by a lawyer who is a Bond Solon-trained trainer. With extensive experience of providing expert witness training to medico-legal experts, the trainer will adopt an interactive approach, including delegate participation and group work.