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Unacceptable Behaviour From Experts - Bill Braithwaite QC, Head of Exchange Chambers

29/09/14. I saw a client recently who had visited quite a lot of medico-legal experts. He has sustained a serious brain injury, as well as many other serious injuries. He was accompanied by a member of his family; she seems to me to be an extremely sensible and nice person. According to her, the consultation with the expert (a doctor) was “horrible”; he was rude, and she was so upset by the process that she felt she had to leave before the end. In addition, she said that, when he phoned (presumably to make an appointment) and spoke to her, he was “inappropriate”. She said he was the rudest man she had met.

I feel very strongly about this sort of behaviour. All experts owe a duty to the solicitor or insurer instructing them to behave appropriately; that includes reading all relevant papers in advance, being punctual, being courteous, and making an independent effort to find out the real problems.

Personally, I would want to withhold payment for a consultation like the one described, and I would certainly circulate details of the doctor so that others don’t use him.

Incidentally, you may be assuming that he was a defence hatchet man; not a bit of it – he was reporting for the claimant.

I've known him for 20 years, and I've never used him!

Bill Braithwaite QC
Head of Exchange Chambers
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