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Can any lawyer advise me on what is involved in the role of a 'treating doctor' in court?

(49 Posts)
ilikeyoursleeves Thu 22-Sep-11 20:15:29

I have been summoned to court within my professional role as a treating doctor of a previous client. I do not really know what to expect though and would be grateful if anyone could explain what will be expected of me? The solicitor said that I will mainly have to talk about what I did treatment wise with the client but I am worried that I will be cross examined and torn apart! (?)

Thanks in advance for any responses.

Georgimama Thu 22-Sep-11 20:16:37

In what context? Clinical negligence claim?

ilikeyoursleeves Thu 22-Sep-11 21:04:48

I don't really want to say anything specific but the client is suing her ex-employer for work related stress.

ilikeyoursleeves Thu 22-Sep-11 21:05:32

So she isn't suing me (phew!) I just happen to have treated her mental health issues after it.

Georgimama Thu 22-Sep-11 21:11:34

No, I didn't mean you being sued - I wondered whether you were an (inexperienced) independent expert witness who has given a medical report and now facing court for the first time.

You will be cross examined by the employer's barrister/solicitor but that doesn't have to look like a scene from Kavanagh QC. It's difficult to advise really because your evidence could be really contentious and therefore cross could be pretty rigorous or your evidence could be quite uncontroversial.

ilikeyoursleeves Thu 22-Sep-11 21:37:31

I'm hoping it will be uncontroversial as what I said in my legal report mirrors several other medical opinions. I don't think I am an 'expert witness' though as I understand someone else will be in that role. I thought I just had to state facts, not opinions? ...and yes it's my first time in court (eeeeek).

Georgimama Thu 22-Sep-11 21:47:38

Has a statement been drafted for you by the solicitor summonsing you? If so that will form your evidence in chief, and the cross examination will stem from that (although it can be about virtually everything).

catsareevil Thu 22-Sep-11 21:50:32

Are you a member of a defense union? They will be able to advise you on this.

The DNUK forum may also be a good source of advice.

ilikeyoursleeves Thu 22-Sep-11 21:51:35

Ummm. I don't think a statement has been drafted, I've not seen anything anyway. I have just been told I have to go to court, I have no paperwork other than my own original notes.

Georgimama Thu 22-Sep-11 21:53:53

Is this in the UK? Just surprised there is no witness statement. Or is it in employment tribunal?

ilikeyoursleeves Thu 22-Sep-11 22:00:47

Yes it's UK. Actually I have something called 'opinion of the court' delivered by Lord X in reclaiming motion by client against employer. Is that what the statement is?

catsareevil Thu 22-Sep-11 22:04:22

Do you have a defence union?

Georgimama Thu 22-Sep-11 22:05:37

Is this an appeal of a previous court decision? Am mighty confused I must confess.

ilikeyoursleeves Thu 22-Sep-11 22:05:39

I am not a member of our union so don't think I could call them. My professional body has a legal helpline I think though.

catsareevil Thu 22-Sep-11 22:07:53

I dont mean the bma, I mean MDU/MPS etc - you will be able to cal the one you are a member of for advice on this.

ilikeyoursleeves Thu 22-Sep-11 22:08:28

Georgimama- I don't think so as this is the first I've heard about it going to court so I assume that if it was an appeal I'd have been involved in earlier processes? Do you think I should ask her solicitor if there is a witness statement?

Aha. I have just come across a thing labelled 'statement' which is the clients impression of events taken by someone legal I assume (their designation isn't recorded). Is that the witness statement?

ilikeyoursleeves Thu 22-Sep-11 22:09:22

What's MDU/MPS? Sorry if I am being thick!

Georgimama Thu 22-Sep-11 22:09:58

I would have thought there would be a statement for you. Normally a witness' evidence in chief is given by written statement and then they are cross examined by the other side. I would ask the solicitor tbh.

K999 Thu 22-Sep-11 22:10:31

Sounds like an appeal to me. If someones reclaiming, it means basically that they dont like the previous judgement!

catsareevil Thu 22-Sep-11 22:11:12

I think that from what you have said probably the best thing would be to speak to your supervising consultant or a senior colleague about this case, and the general issues involved here.

ilikeyoursleeves Thu 22-Sep-11 22:13:11

Thanks for the advice everyone, I will call the solicitor tomorrow and try to find out a bit more.

catsareevil Thu 22-Sep-11 22:16:43

Who is the solicitor working for? Is it for the client? Really, it would be better to seek advice from someone who is either impartial or acting on your behalf.

pippibluestocking Thu 22-Sep-11 22:18:56

MDU - Medical Defence Union
MPS - Medical Protection Society

ilikeyoursleeves Thu 22-Sep-11 22:19:01

The solicitor is working for the client, so yes I guess acting on my behalf. I think...?

catsareevil Thu 22-Sep-11 22:20:49

They are acting on the clients behalf, not yours. Really you need to speak to someone senior about all this. And join a defence organisation ASAP.

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