Writing Medico-Legal Reports in Civil Claims – an Essential Guide
"This excellent book is written by Giles Eyre, an experienced barrister and Lynden Alexander, a communication skills consultant. The book is well laid out; the topics are covered in a logical and easy to follow sequence. As you might expect, the earlier chapters look at the essential qualities of a medical expert and then move on to deal with opinion evidence both in general terms and more specifically in complex claims. There are specific chapters on reporting in clinical negligence claims as well as addressing practical concerns in the expert witnesses practice with sections on cost budgeting and maintaining the integrity of an expert witness practice.
This is book is in its second edition. It includes updates on recent case law including the Jackson Reforms and more recently the Montgomery ruling on consent and is recommended to lawyers and medical experts alike.
New medico-legal experts will find the book particularly valuable, whilst the more experienced expert will find it at the very least, a helpful point of reference and update for their legal knowledge. The book also serves as a useful reminder to lawyers that good communication and engagement lies at the heart of the lawyer/expert relationship.
The book is thorough and readable with useful templates for personal injury and clinical negligence practice. We particularly liked the "key-point summary" that appears at the end of each chapter.
AvMA are pleased to recommend this well written, user friendly reference book."
"This book is authored by a barrister and a communicatons counsultant to give a legal flavour of medico legal practice (civil claims) to physicians. It is ambitious and covers a wide field of topics unfamiliar to most doctors, eg the expert's duty to the Court overrides the duty to the instructing solicitor. The book covers all aspects of report writing, the curious legal criterion of 'balance of probabilities' opinion evidence, and the nuts and bolts of how to write a report - unfamiliar to most clinicians. Both authors are active in the field and are instructors in this area. It is clearly written, easy to read and should appeal to both beginners in the field as well as seasoned experts.
I did not read the whole book but the pages I cherry picked were easy reading and instructive."
Professor of Neurology, St Georges Medical school, London
"This excellent book, jointly written by an experienced barrister and a communication skills consultant, goes some way in narrowing the gap between medical experts and their instructing lawyers. From the medical experts viewpoint, the text is written in a format that is relatively easy to digest. There are frequent case examples and excerpts from reports, which are either helpful or unhelpful to the lawyers, thus further helping to clarify various issues. Each chapter ends with a number of questions, designed to develop the reader's medico-legal understanding.
The initial chapters deal with important legal issues, such as the role of the expert in relation to CPR part 35, the Civil Standard of Proof, opinion evidence in both standard and complex claims and in Clinical Negligence. The final chapter deals with report writing, and there are examples of report templates in the appendices.
Expert reports play a vital role in the litigation process, and with the lawyers expressing concern about the general standard of many reports, there is a need to improve the quality of reporting. With the publication of this book, the authors have played an important role in raising the standard of medico-legal report writing and are to be congratulated. All those medical experts striving to produce high-quality reports would do well to have a copy on their bookshelves."
Geoffrey Sagor ChM FRCS.
" When it comes to writing medico-legal reports the court appointed expert needs a reference book. This is an admirable Vade Mecum equally relevant to beginner and the long experienced. The authors complement each other – being a barrister and a forensic communication expert.
For the beginner, the basic principles are clearly explained. For the well-versed, the necessary approach to complicated and difficult issues is set out in a practical and user friendly way.
The text of 344 pages can be easily navigated. 10 chapters are complimented by 7 appendices, with a working index. The content is written - as with most legal documents - with numbered paragraphs, which allows easy reference."
Mr Jim Kernohan
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
" I have found this book invaluable both as a source of background information regarding medicolegal work and as a practical quick-reference guide when actually producing reports.
The book covers the legal framework with respect to claims, the role and duties of experts, proof, dealing with complex claims and producing reports which are helpful to the Court.It is easy to read and clearly sets out the expectations of the legal system regarding medical reports and addresses many issues which initially seem mysterious to medics. There are helpful key point summaries and development exercises at the end of every chapter. My legal knowledge and the quality of my own reports has improved as a result.
I think that this guide will be useful for medical experts at all levels of experience and is essential for anyone newly embarking on medicolegal work."
Dr Sian Falder
Burns & Plastic Surgeon
"This book provides an excellent overview of the topic in the legal system in England & Wales. It is ideal for those new to medico-legal report writing as it covers all the main issues but there is also plenty of advice which even the experience expert witness can benefit from. The appendices provide templates for the various kinds of reports and a check-list, the CPR Part 35 rules and the GMC Guidance and an example schedule of loss - all very conveniently in one place."
Dr Carol Henshaw
Consultant Psychiatrist & Expert Witness
"The perfect guide for those both new and experienced in the area of medico-legal work."
Dr Ejaz Ansari
"As an Occupational therapy Expert Witness, and mentor to other experts I find this book invaluable. It covers all key aspects of medico-legal report writing and grounds the expert with regard to his/her role and obligations, and the relevant legal tests. It is clear, easy to read and understand, and easy to find what you need - just like our reports should be!
We recommend it to all our associates as an essential guide for them to refer to."
Chief Executive, Somek & Associates
"As an experienced expert witness, I read this book from cover to cover and immediately made significant changes to the wording of my reports. Any serious expert should read this book and take heed of its messages."
Dr Sam Rowlands
Specialist in contraception and sexual health
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