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: Tuesday 22 September 2020
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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.

Read the terms and guidance

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.


Our people

Chair: Dr Jan Wise


  • three members appointed by council
  • one elected by the public health medicine committee (PHMC)
  • one by the consultants committee (CC)
  • one by the general practitioners committee (GPC)
  • one by the staff associate specialist and specialty doctors committee (SASC)
  • 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.


Our meetings

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

Upcoming meetings:

  • Wednesday 20 May 2020

All our meetings take place from 1pm to 5pm either virtually or at:

BMA House
Tavistock Square

For more information, please email us.



The annual medico-legal conference will take place on Friday 27 March 2020, at BMA House, London.

The conference will hear from high profile speakers including barristers, judges, solicitors and consultant physicians who will discuss key matters affecting the expert witness industry and update on the legal and medical landscape surrounding expert witness work.

Read more about the conference and how to register


Get in touch

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