The expert meeting: review of survey data provided by lawyers and medicolegal experts

Clin Risk 2008;14:109-112
doi:10.1258/cr.2008.080022
© 2008 Royal Society of Medicine

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The expert meeting: review of survey data provided by lawyers and medicolegal experts

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Articles by Freedland, F.
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The expert meeting: review of survey data provided by lawyers and medicolegal experts
The expert meeting: review of survey data provided by lawyers and medicolegal experts

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Fiona Freedland

AvMA undertook the survey in order to examine whether Rule 35 of the Civil Procedure Rules that governs expert meetings was operating effectively. The survey was initially restricted to Claimant lawyers as this is the group that AvMA has most contact and dealings with. However, the survey was subsequently expanded to include some Defendant lawyers as well as medicolegal experts themselves. The scope of the study was to look at issues arising from the expert meeting. Although the survey referred to the expert ‘meeting’, in practice, many discussions between experts take place without the experts meeting at all. The term ‘expert meeting’ was to encompass all forms of discussions between experts. This paper presents a review of the survey returns with particular emphasis placed on problems encountered in the context of the expert meeting. The level of response to the survey from Claimant lawyers was higher than AvMA expected. The response to the survey from Defendant lawyers is less than would be needed for the claims to be considered representative of Defendant lawyers in general. For resource reasons surveys to medicolegal experts were restricted to those for whom AvMA already had e-mail details. This limited the scope of potential medicolegal expert responses. Notwithstanding this, general themes have been picked out throughout this study that AvMA regards as indicative of feelings within both the legal and clinical professional groups. The main findings were as follows:

  • It is rare for lawyers to attend expert meetings;
  • The majority of Claimant lawyers (72%) believe that lawyers should be present at the expert meeting. This contrasted with 33% of experts believing that lawyers should be present and with only 20% of Defendant lawyers agreeing. Less than 2% of Claimant lawyers attend an expert meeting. Less than 60% had ever attended an expert meeting;
  • Less than 50% of lawyers had ever made an application to court in order to be present at an expert meeting;
  • Ninety-eight percent of Claimant respondents reported difficulties in getting Defendant lawyers or the court to permit the presence of lawyers.

 

The expert meeting: review of survey data provided by lawyers and medicolegal experts
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