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Title: The doctor in court - an overview
Authors: De Gaetano, Vincent A.
Keywords: Medical laws and legislation -- Malta
Evidence, Expert -- Malta
Medical jurisprudence -- Malta
Medical ethics -- Malta
Issue Date: 1999
Publisher: Għaqda Studenti tal-Liġi
Citation: De Gaetano, V. A. (1999). The doctor in court - an overview. Id-Dritt, 17, 17-28.
Abstract: When, about two weeks ago, I was asked by my friend Dr. Mario Scerri to address you, my first reaction was to say politely "no thank you". What can a lawyer say which can be of interest to medical people gathered to discuss topics in the field of forensic medicine? But then I thought of the many close encounters I have had, both as a prosecutor and now as a judge, with doctors in the court room, encounters that have been in some cases rewarding, in others disappointing, in some cases positively entertaining, in others nightmarish. What is that makes the doctor's role in court, particularly in criminal proceedings, so captivating for the media, so much discussed and criticised by lawyers, and so very often disliked by doctors themselves? After all the doctor in court- unless he happens to be the accused or unless he is giving evidence on something totally unrelated to his medical practice - should be saying in court very much the same thing he would have said in a case conference with colleagues or in a written report submitted to a patient or to whoever requests such a report (e.g. an insurance company). The answer is both simple and complicated. The simple answer is that the moment a doctor is transposed from a purely medical setting into a legal or courtroom setting, the "rules of the game" are changed. The complicated answer is linked to the more or less complex rules of the adversarial legal system, to which are added what to many may seem as quaintnesses and endemic inconveniences peculiar to the Maltese legal system.
Appears in Collections:Id-Dritt : Volume 17 : 1999
Id-Dritt : Volume 17 : 1999

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