Attending court

Health professionals who have treated a person involved in the legal process, whether or not they have provided amedical report, may be required to give evidence in court. Like all other members of the public, health professionals are obliged to assist courts in the administration of justice, and at times this may be an inconvenient, difficult and unnerving experience.


Some health professionals may have concerns about the relevance or ambit of their evidence. If the subpoena, on request to attend court, comes from your patient’s lawyer and you have those concerns, you should discuss this freely with that lawyer. If the subpoena comes from any other party, you are unable to discuss the details without the patient’s express authority which should be obtained through the patient’s lawyer. Communications with other parties or the provision of documentation (e.g. records) should never occur without express authority from a court or a patient.