Demeanor in Court

In the space available, it is not possible to do more than to outline good practice when giving evidence. Court appearances are serious matters; an individual's liberty may be at risk or large awards of damages and costs may rely on the evidence given. The doctor's dress and demeanor should be appropriate to the occasion, and he or she should speak clearly and audibly.

As with an oral examination for medical finals or the defense of a written thesis, listen carefully to the questions posed. Think carefully about the reply before opening your mouth and allowing words to pour forth. Answer the question asked (not the one you would like it to have been) concisely and carefully, and then wait for the next question. There is no need to fill all silences with words; the judge and others will be making notes, and it is wise to keep an eye on the judge's pen and adjust the speed of your words accordingly. Pauses between questions allow the judge to finish writing or counsel to think up his or her next question. If anything you have said is unclear or more is wanted from you, be assured that you will be asked more questions.

Be calm and patient, and never show a loss of temper or control regardless of how provoking counsel may be. An angry or flustered witness is a gift to any competent and experienced counsel, as is a garrulous or evasive witness.

Try to use simple language devoid of jargon, abbreviations, and acronyms. Stay well within your area of skill and expertise, and do not be slow to admit that you do not know the answer. Your frankness will be appreciated, whereas an attempt to bluff or obfuscate or overreach yourself will almost certainly be detrimental to your position.

Doctors usually seek consensus and try to avoid confrontation (at least in a clinical setting). They should remember that lawyers thrive on the adversarial process and are out to win their case, not to engage on a search for truth. Thus, lawyers will wish to extract from witnesses answers that best support the case of the party by whom they are retained. However, the medical witness is not in court to "take sides" but rather to assist the court, to the best of the expert witness' ability, to do justice in the case. Therefore, the witness should adhere to his or her evidence where it is right to do so but must be prepared to be flexible and to make concessions if appropriate, for example, because further evidence has emerged since the original statement was prepared, making it appropriate to cede points. The doctor should also recall the terms of the oath or affirmation—to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth—and give evidence accordingly.

Affirmations For Success

Affirmations For Success

Finally, The Ultimate Guide To Changing Your Life Forever. Get Your Hands On The Ultimate Guide For Live Improvement Through Affirmations For Success And Let It's Magic Change Your Life Forever. Discover How OrdinaryPeople Can Live Extraordinary Lives Through The Power Of Affirmations.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment