I have been involved in medicolegal work and in providing medicolegal reports since 1991. To get me started I attended BMA sponsored medicolegal courses in report writing and giving oral evidence. I also attended a three day symposium run by Lyons Davison Solicitors on whiplash in 1997.

I have attended symposia run by solicitors on personal injury  and recently I have attended a day course run by a solicitor and barrister on clinical negligence.

I am a member of the Expert Witness Registry UK and have had reports vetted.

I have attended District, County and High Courts to give oral evidence, the last attendance being the beginning of June 2011.

Report Turnaround
Once a claimant has been seen for a clinical consultation and, provided all the documents to be scrutinized are available, I endeavour to release a ‘draft’ report within 2-3 weeks. I find this gives the interested parties a chance to correct any factual errors and saves on a lot of time consuming correspondence. Unless the circumstances are exceptional and agreed at the outset, I expect payment within three months of sending the draft when I shall then release the final and signed report.

Personal approach to medico-legal work

I endeavour to make myself reasonably available for telephone conferences and general discussion with solicitors, which can often expedite matters. I also make myself available for joint discussions with other experts, recognising that accepting instructions equates to a lot more work over time than just writing a single report.

In personal injury cases, as I am still very active in a large Pain Medicine Department in a London Teaching Hospital, I will often make recommendations for further treatment and will recommend colleagues who can undertake this – since I personally cannot while still engaged as an independent expert.

Instructions accepted

I accept instructions as a single joint expert and have also set up joint consultations with my ‘opposite’ number. This has a number of advantages in that the claimant is assessed by both sides simultaneously. Any differences of views can then be made immediately apparent to the court as well as the areas of agreement. Having been involved for two decades in medicolegal work I am well aware of the adversarial nature of the business! But joint consultations also give one the advantage of checking if both parties have the same documents to peruse and if there are deficiencies these can be rectified much more quickly.

I accept instructions as they come with no preferences for claimant or defendant. I would estimate therefore that the breakdown would be equal proportions for claimant and defendant with a smaller proportion for single joint instructions (say 45:45:10). I always emphasise that my report is for the court, to whom I am ultimately responsible.