Medico-legal committee overview

The MLC (medico-legal committee) is responsible for advising the BMA on legal matters affecting doctors working as expert witnesses.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Thursday 18 April 2024
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​The MLC (medico-legal committee) considers and reports on medico-legal issues of concern to the profession, including those referred to the committee by BMA council, other BMA committees and external bodies.

The MLC is also responsible for advising the BMA on policy matters affecting doctors who undertake work as expert witnesses.


Our priorities

Medical and gross negligence manslaughter

There has been a recent rise in the range of healthcare workers charged with "manslaughter by gross negligence." Although prosecutions are still rare there is widespread concern that staff cannot learn from errors or near misses in a culture of blame or under the threat of criminal charges.

  • We have prepared a position statement on the law of gross negligence - it also outlines how the law is applied to medical practice.

Read our position statement on the law

  • The GMC commissioned an independent review into how gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide are applied to medical practice.

Read our response to the GMC review

  • In the aftermath of the Dr Bawa-Garba ruling, a rapid policy review was commissioned into the issues pertaining to GNM (gross negligence manslaughter).

Read our response

Setting out terms and conditions of appointment

We have prepared terms and conditions of appointment and accompanying guidance. It assists an expert witness to consider the matters that are most relevant to their contract to provide services to the court.

Please sign in to the BMA website to download the terms and conditions below.

Our priorities also include:

  • knowledge sharing - to promote the work of the medico legal committee at the ARM
  • whiplash reform programme - to continue to feed into the whiplash reform programme, as part of the Government’s aim to reduce the number of fraudulent whiplash claims
  • fixed cost in clinical negligence claims - to participate in the Government’s consultation on fixed costs in clinical negligence claims
  • whistleblowing - to take an active role in the 'whistleblowing' project
  • terms and conditions - to update the terms and conditions for expert witnesses.


Section 49 Guidance

Under section 49 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (the “MCA”), the Court of Protection (the “CoP”) may require NHS health bodies and local authorities to arrange for a report to be made for the purpose of considering any question relating to someone who may lack capacity.

Producing a report is a complex process involving assessing the patient, reviewing notes, discussing with relevant professionals and compiling information. The amount of time required to review a long and complex set of medical records presented can be significant.

We have developed the guidance below to explain what this work entails and inform members about the BMA’s position.

Read our guidance

Further BMA guidance on mental capacity:


Our people

Chair: Simon Minkoff


Our meetings

The committee meets three times a year to discuss the latest issues. These meetings are open to committee members only.

Meeting dates:

  • Wednesday 29 November 2023: 1 - 5pm, in person

  • Wednesday 20 March 2024: 1 - 5pm, virtual

  • Tuesday 18 June 2024: 1 - 5pm, virtual

For more information, please email us.



The date of the 2024 expert witness conference will be Wednesday 5 June 2024.

The 2023 expert witness conference took place on Friday, 9 June 2023

Read the report.


How to join

There are many advantages to becoming involved in our committees. You can actively influence BMA policy-making and negotiations, represent your colleagues' voices and develop your leadership skills. 

Each committee has a few routes to becoming an elected member. In the case of the MLC, all voting members are elected from other BMA committees and UK council:

MLC constitution
  • three members appointed by UK council
  • one elected by the public health medicine committee (PHMC)
  • one by the consultants committee
  • one by the general practitioners committee (GPC)
  • one by the junior doctors committee (JDC)
  • one by the medical ethics committee (MEC)
  • one by the professional fees committee (PFC)
  • one observer from the medical defence union (MDU)
  • one observer from the Medical Advisory Services, Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS)
  • one observer from the Medical Protection Society (MPS)
  • one observer from the NHS Litigation Authority.

To join the MLC via any of these committees, please see any running elections on their respective pages.


Get in touch

If you have any questions, or would like to find out more about the work of the MLC, please contact us.

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