Medico legal fees guidance for doctors in Scotland

Doctors are generally approached to provide medical reports in connection with a legal action and/or attend court to give evidence, which may involve conferences with counsel or other related work.
Location: Scotland
Audience: Consultants GPs
Updated: Wednesday 13 November 2019
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Medico-legal work is perhaps the most complex area of fee-paid work.

Doctors are generally approached to provide medical reports in connection with a legal action and/or attend court to give evidence, which may involve conferences with counsel or other related work.

Note for consultants: Medico-legal work counts as fee paying work and is distinct from private practice (see note below).

For the small number of consultants who remain on the old consultant contract, medico-legal work counts as category 2 work.

The fees which may be paid will also depend on the status of the witness, ie whether the doctor is a witness to fact, a professional witness, or an expert witness. There is also a distinction between criminal and civil proceedings.

It is important for medical practitioners asked to undertake medico-legal work, to be aware of these distinctions and their effect on the fees. It is not enough just to refer to the appendices in this schedule in isolation.

The nature of the work to be undertaken, the fees for that work (including cancellation fees), and any further commitments that may arise should be agreed in writing in advance of undertaking the work.

 

Professional witnesses

Notes: Unlike other professional witnesses, salaried doctors may be paid professional fees since attendance to give evidence may be regarded as professional services which are not included within the scope of hospital and other special service.

A professional person not giving evidence relating to his professional capacity shall be paid as an ordinary witness.

Necessary travelling time from residence or place of work shall be included in computing the fee payable.

Any arrears in relation to work done on or after the date of the fee increases should be calculated in cooperation with the person concerned and paid as soon as possible.

 

Professional witness fees
Engaged not more than 2 hours £75.00
Engaged not more than 4 hours £112.00
Engaged not more than 6 hours £170.00
Engaged more than 6 hours £225.00

Expert witnesses

Notes: Necessary travelling time from residence or place of business shall be included in computing the fee payable.

Where a locum tenens is engaged or arranged, the rules relating to the payment of a locum shall be those related to professional witnesses as laid down in below.

Higher fees may be paid if agreed by the Procurator Fiscal prior to instruction.

 

Expert witness fees
For work done, attendance at prerecognition and at court.
Preparation (per hour) £47.00 to £100.00
Engaged not more than 1 hour £82.00
Engaged not more than 4 hours £164.00
Engaged not more than 6 hours £246.00
Engaged more than 6 hours £328.00

Professional witness locum cover

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal has agreed that receipted locum expenses should be remunerated in all circumstances. In the absence of a receipt or a fee note detailing the exact amount due, the capped rate will apply.

If receipts higher than these fees are presented to the Crown Office then consideration will be give to paying them.

Note: Where a doctor who has arranged a locum receives late notice that his citation has been cancelled in such circumstances that it is not possible to cancel the locum, and where the doctor is required to pay a fee to the locum, the locum will be paid within the limits set out above. The doctor would not be entitled to a fee.

 

Professional witness locum cover fees
Engaged not more than 2 hours £75.00
Engaged not more than 4 hours £112.00
Engaged more than 4 hours £185.00

Allowances

Travel allowances
Motor mileage allowance per mile 28p
Overnight allowances
Attendance overnight (including meals and incidentals) £65.00
Attendance overnight (staying with friends and relatives £25.00

Post-mortem

In cases of special complexity the special fee may be authorised by the Crown Office. Each case is decided on its merits.

Apart from cases of homicide, when a doctor claims a special fee, the Procurator Fiscal should give his opinion as to whether a special fee is justified.

When a two-doctor post mortem has been instructed and both doctors collaborate in preparing a joint report, each doctor should be paid the full fee for the report where this is claimed.

The night fees also apply to Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

 

Post mortem fees
Post mortem £91.00
Report £32.00
Special post mortem (normally not exceeding) £256.00
Analysis of blood or urine samples £30.00
Travelling time to a post mortem where it exceeds one hour for every hour or part of an hour after the first hour:
Between 8 am and 7 pm £36.00
Between 7 pm and 8 am £54.00
Motor mileage allowance per mile 28p

Anaesthetic deaths

Where a doctor is instructed to interview a surgeon, anaesthetist or other person in connection with an anaesthetic death he may agree a fee with the Procurator Fiscal.

In such cases the doctor may be deemed to be acting as an expert witness (see Expert witness fees above).

 

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