Estimated read time: 7 mins
Medical expert opinion is crucial when doctors are faced
with an investigation, claim or complaint following an adverse event. It can
determine the course of an investigation and the standards doctors are held to.
Given the importance of expert work, it is concerning that there
are reported difficulties in finding appropriately qualified experts who can
give a balanced, objective and impartial account. The pool of experts isn’t as
wide as it could be, and this can lead to a reliance on experts who don’t work
in Ireland and with some reports in recent years of “hired guns” bias.
The Law Reform Commission carried out two major reviews in
2008 and 2016 looking at the topic of experts. These reviews concluded that
expert witnesses should be under a statutory duty to state the facts and
assumptions on which their evidence is based. This report also highlighted
conscious bias – where parties, including those looking to build a case against
a doctor, shop around for an expert that fits their case.
We therefore thought that it was time to launch a campaign
on this very important issue as we believe that encouraging and supporting more
doctors to become medical experts could drive out the hired gun bias. We have
identified four areas where we would like to see change:
1. Encouraging a wider and more diverse pool of doctors2. Facilitating and identifying appropriate expert witnesses3. Education and training of experts4. Expert witness work to be a core part of a doctor’s role
This webinar series and supporting podcasts explore the crucial role of expert witnesses in legal proceedings, including the skills required and the importance of using a diverse pool of experts. Our panel will cover topics including the training required to take the stand, what it takes to put together a well written report and a comprehensive overview of the knowledge needed to be an effective expert witness to comply with your duty to the court.