• Understanding the Legal Process

    Facing a legal claim or complaint is not easy. Although many suggest that a complaint of unprofessional conduct or an allegation of medical negligence should not be taken personally, most doctors regard it as a direct assault on their personal and professional integrity. Medico-legal matters can place practitioners and their families under a great deal of stress. Being caught up in a legal process over which you have little control and that you don’t understand can lead to a feeling of powerlessness and greater anxiety. This is backed by Australian research showing that having a current medico-legal matter is associated with psychiatric morbidity. [1] One suggested strategy to overcome this is for doctors to be educated about the medico-legal process and understand how the experience may affect their health, their work and their loved ones. [2] In this section we provide information about the legal process in areas in which we commonly assist our members.


    1. Nash L et al “Factors associated with psychiatric morbidity and hazardous alcohol use in Australian doctors” 2010 MJA 193 (3); 161-166 at 164
    2. ibid: page 165