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Handbook

INTRODUCTION

The detail given in this Information Handbook is the result of the process of evolution through which the Australasian College of Legal Medicine has passed since its founding in 1995. It should be used for general guidance only as the College responds to the individual requirements of its members; also, to the continuing changes of the law and medicine and the expansion of the range of professional practices which can justifiably be included in the discipline of legal medicine.


People reading this Handbook should therefore be aware that subject to compliance with threshold medical, dental or related experience and legal training requirements, the College wishes to provide potential Fellows and Members with the opportunity to submit a diverse range of medical, dental or related qualifications, professional experience, legal training, and legal experience to the Board of Censors for consideration as part of their application for specialist FACLM or FFDACLM status, or the sub-specialist but high expertise MACLM of MFDACLM status. All abbreviations should be written in full, with the abbreviations in brackets.


Applicants for the above membership categories should be aware that each applicant is assessed on the basis of their qualifications, training, experience, and area of professional practice. The assessed status of any existing individual member cannot be recognised as a precedent for other applicants due to the very diverse areas of practice of individual practitioners.


OFFICE BEARERS AUSTRALASIAN COLLEGE OF LEGAL MEDICINE

The following are the categories of office-bearers of the College who comprise the executive committee of the incorporated body along with the remaining members of the Council. Office bearers and Councillors at the date of provision of this Handbook are listed in an insert in the Handbook.


Office Bearers
  • President
  • Vice President and Chairperson of the Administration Committee
  • Vice President and Chairperson of the Academic Committee (Censor-in-Chief)
  • Company Secretary
  • Treasurer


  • These include one Faculty of Dentistry Representative.

FOUNDING PRESIDENT & CENSOR-IN-CHIEF'S STATEMENT:

The impact of the law on the practice of medicine and the administration of health care has increased substantially in the last two decades, as also has its complexity. As a result the law is not only impinging on the day to day activities of practitioners but the same practitioners are becoming directly involved in the legal process as providers of certification, as expert witnesses and to an increasing extent, as defendants.


Medical and Dental practitioners are also being called upon in a continually expanding role to assist in the processes of the law, for example in the areas of forensic medicine and dentistry, as Court appointed experts or advisers, as Tribunal members, and as Statutory Authority specialist panel members. This is medical and dental practice as legal medicine in its purest form, namely. medicine or dentistry practiced for no purpose other than to be part of the legal process.


The medical/professional indemnity crisis has brought home to all doctors and dentists that it is no longer possible to practise in ignorance of the legal implications of their activities.


Medical and dental practitioners occasionally called upon to provide expert evidence and those whose practice is comprised substantially of medico-legal work will be aware of the increasing activism of the Courts in their demands for high quality, non-biased and reliable evidence and of the increasing medical knowledge of Counsel whose cross examination techniques have become substantially more detailed and sophisticated to the point that any "expert", unwise enough to provide other than objective and unbiased medico-legal reports or evidence, will suffer both humiliation and the potential loss of their medico-legal practice.


In addition to providing up to date legal guidance and training, to assist doctors in their practices, the College perceives roles for its members as advisers to the legal profession, specialist medical colleges, tribunals, government bodies etc; also as lecturers in legal medicine and medical law in Medical and Law schools, and as a source of support to defendant doctors and plaintiff patients by providing access to medically qualified barristers and legally qualified medical advisers.


In looking to the future, the College hopes to continue at the forefront of law and medicine and to be instrumental in influencing both the development of the law as it applies to medicine and the practice of medicine whereby all doctors of the future will aim to practice medicine acknowledging the rights of patients to the highest and most ethical standards of medical care and to enforce the same standards on their peers.


Maurice Wallin M.B. B.S.(Melb) LL.B. (Monash) Grad.Dip.Leg.Stud. (Monash). FACLM. FACBS.
Founding and Immediate Past President- Australasian College of Legal Medicine.
Censor-in-Chief.
April 2003.

HISTORICAL DETAIL OF THE AUSTRALASIAN COLLEGE OF LEGAL MEDICINE

The Australasian College of Legal Medicine (ACLM) was inaugurated in Sydney on 11 November 1995. This followed a meeting of approximately 30 medical practitioners who were also qualified in law.


The College defined its aims to include:
  • the development of a group of legally orientated and skilled medical practitioners;
  • the claiming and developing of its own particular body of knowledge, including the researching of aspects pertinent to this and the maintenance of relevant standards;
  • the giving of advice and speaking on topics of medico-legal importance;
  • the acting as a resource body for both the medical and the legal professions;
  • the acting as a support organisation for its members and for the medical profession as a whole.

Two streams of medical practice relevant to the new College were recognized: Firstly a broad stream of clinical practice involving areas such as general medico-legal practice, areas of medicine impacted on by the law such as assisted reproduction, palliative care, and medical practitioners engaged principally in legal practice, such being termed the Legal stream: Secondly, a stream related to clinical forensic medicine, such being termed the Medical Jurisprudence stream.


Neither stream developed exclusively of the other and whilst members practised in different areas, an all-encompassing stream, originally recognized as a potential third stream, has evolved. This stream includes all those other areas where medicine or related disciplines impact with the law.


Inaugural office bearers who proposed and facilitated the founding of the College were:
  • Dr. Maurice Wallin, President.
  • Dr. Maura McGill, Vice President - Administration.
  • Dr. Noel McCleave, Vice President – Academic & Censor-in-Chief.

MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES INCLUDING FELLOWSHIP:
  1. General Entry Membership

  2. All people seeking entry to the membership categories of Fellow, Member, or Associate Member of the Australasian College of Legal Medicine must satisfy the following criteria:

    • They must be registered medical or dental practitioners. The membership of other related professionals is under consideration.
    • This registration must be with an appropriate licensing board and for Australasian members this must be with a relevant State or Territory Board.
    • They must have a bona fide interest in the Australasian College of Legal Medicine and be prepared to support its aims and philosophies.
    • They must pay the appropriate College dues.

    Entry for all people to the above membership categories of the College is initially at the level of Associate or Affiliate Member and the College encourages all of its Associates and Affiliates to actively strive to increase their status in the College.

    Associates have no rights to claim that their membership of the Australasian College of Legal Medicine denotes any specialist skills. Also, they may not use College post-nominal, which signifies membership.


  3. Membership Status

  4. This is the advancement from Associate Member. Such a person must have an appropriate post graduate qualification, have completed a satisfactory period of clinical practice of at least three years subsequent to the gaining of full medical or dental registration and have completed internal College training courses in basic law and expert witness training (as applicable). An appropriate post graduate qualification at this level of membership is a relevant Diploma pertinent to both Medicine and the Law or Medical Jurisprudence, and which has been approved by the Censor - in - Chief of the Australasian College of Legal Medicine through its Council. A person admitted to member status is known as a Member of the Australasian College of Legal Medicine and is entitled to use the post-nominal MACLM or MFDACLM as applicable after their name and primary qualifications.


  5. Fellowship Status

  6. This is the next advancement, and is the highest status that the College presently recognizes, being that of a specialist within the College.

    Fellows will have completed a minimum period of six years of clinical practice after full medical registration. Additionally they will have passed an approved and relevant external qualification or qualifications equivalent at least to a full Bachelor of Laws degree from an Australian University Law Faculty, or a Master's degree in Legal Medicine or Health and Medical Law. Further, candidates applying for Fellowship based on a Master's degree in Health and Medical Law or equivalent will be required to complete an ACLM Basic Law Intensive Course and Expert Witness training (as relevant ). Candidates may also be required to pass an examination conducted by the College, but this requirement may be waived if the external qualification meets all of the College's requirements.

    Candidates for Fellowship based on possession of the ACLM sponsored Master's Degree in Legal Medicine will not be required to complete extra training.

    A person admitted to Fellowship status will be known as a Fellow of the Australasian College of Legal Medicine or Fellow of the Faculty of Dentistry of the Australasian College of Legal Medicine and that person will be entitled to use the post-nominal ACLM or FFDACLM as appropriate to signify their specialist status.


  7. Affiliate Status

  8. This is a category of membership open to approved graduate health professionals, including nurses and physiotherapists, who have formal legal training and who are not registered medical or dental practitioners. This category is also open to registered legal practitioners . It is a non-voting category and there is no College post-nominal to be used by affiliates. Affiliates otherwise enjoy all College privileges and opportunities.


  9. Honorary Member

  10. This is for people who have provided exemplary service to the college and have been selected by the board for this title.



COLLEGE FACULTIES

In addition to the founding general medical membership of the Australasian College of Legal Medicine, the College incorporates a Faculty of Dentistry. Membership requirements for this Faculty are identical to those of the mainstream College, as they relate to dental practitioners. Two positions on the College Council are specifically reserved for members of the Faculty of Dentistry.



ACHIEVEMENT OF SPECIALIST FELLOWSHIP OR SUB-SPECIALIST BUT HIGH EXPERTISE MEMBERSHIP STATUS

Recognition of Retrospective Training

Due to the age of the College and the "freezing" of the recognition of medical specialties and training programs by the abolition of the National Specialist Qualification Advisory Committee in 1998, the significant delay in replacing that body by the Australian Medical Council, and the substantial backlog in applications for specialist recognition facing the AMC, the development of the specific training programs for prospective Fellows and Members of the College has been delayed pending notification by the AMC of the relevant criteria for such recognition.

However due to the existence of a substantial body of qualified practitioners in the College already effectively practising legal medicine at specialist level, and the high external training requirements of the College, namely a full LL.B. or equivalent, or a relevant Master's degree, the College has seen it appropriate to accredit such practitioners to be at specialist level. This accreditation is based on retrospective fulfillment of the training requirements.

As there remain many senior practitioners who have not to date sought specialist or sub-specialist recognition but whose training and clinical experience fulfill ACLM accreditation requirements, this process for accreditation will continue and each application will be assessed on its merits.


Prospective Involvement in ACLM Training Programs

Junior or less experienced medical or dental practitioners who propose to seek Fellowship or Membership of the College are required to participate in the College training program which will evolve further as the College continues to seek recognition of its Fellowship as a specialist qualification either by the AMC or other relevant body recognising standards of professional activity.


Training Programs Entry Requirements

All entrants to the training programs must initially fulfill the requirements for entry to the College at Associate member level (see criteria above).


External Law Qualification

All candidates must then complete an External Law Qualification (undergraduate degree, master's degree, or graduate diploma as applicable) in order for the College to present its Fellows and Members as having formal expertise in law to a relevant level, such thereby qualifying its members to speak or write with credibility on matters of law pertaining to clinical medical or dental practice.

The Council of the College may consider accepting a Graduate Diploma in Legal Medicine, in Health & Medical Law, or Forensic & Legal Medicine as the external requirement for Fellowship in addition to internal ACLM legal training as the external qualification for candidates who complete the fully-supervised training period.


Clinical Practice Experience and Supervised Clinical Legal Medicine Training

Candidates for Fellowship via the training program must complete six years of post-registration relevant clinical practice, of which a College appointed/approved mentor must supervise three years.

Candidates for Membership via the training program must complete three years of relevant post-registration clinical practice of which a College appointed/approved mentor must supervise one year.

Each candidate will be required to maintain a diary, to provide six monthly reports on clinical activities in the previous six months and their relevance to legal medicine, to provide a written or verbal case presentation to the mentor or peers at least six times per year and provide an article for peer review and publication in an approved legal medicine journal once every six months.

At the conclusion of the training program when such is determined to the satisfaction of the Censor-in-Chief , the candidate must sit an examination, or provide a thesis for publication, in order to demonstrate legal medicine expertise and an understanding of the law at specialist or sub-specialist level, as relevant to the particular candidate.

Candidates who successfully undertake the College sponsored Master's Degree or Graduate Diploma in Legal Medicine as their external qualification will in all likelihood be deemed to have completed the examination/thesis requirements (Master's degree for Fellows, Graduate Diploma for Members). Candidates permitted to qualify for Fellowship via the ACLM Graduate Diploma in Legal Medicine will be required to sit the examination or present an acceptable thesis.

Each candidate will be required to maintain a diary, to provide six monthly reports on clinical activities in the previous six months and their relevance to legal medicine, to provide a written or verbal case presentation to the mentor or peers at least six times per year and provide an article for peer review and publication in an approved legal medicine journal once every six months.



TRAINING REQUIREMENT SUMMARY

  1. ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS

  2. Affiliate member - An undergraduate degree/qualification in a Health Care profession other than Medicine or Dentistry, plus a legal qualification of at least diploma status, or an undergraduate degree in Law if applying on the basis of being a legal practitioner.


    Associate member - A Medical or Dental degree, plus registration and good standing with a relevant professional registration body.


    Member - A Medical or Dental degree, plus a graduate diploma in Law, Legal Medicine, Medical Jurisprudence, Forensic Medicine, or other acceptable qualification.


    Fellow - A Medical or Dental degree, plus an LL.B. or equivalent, a Master's degree in Legal Medicine, or a Master's degree in Health and Medical Law. (Note above full training programs candidate requirements).


    Internal Academic Requirements

    Membership and Fellowship candidates who do not possess a full LL.B. or equivalent, or the ACLM sponsored Master's degree in Legal Medicine must complete the College Basic Law Intensive in addition to a non-ACLM sponsored Master's degree in Health and/or Medical Law, and those practising as or likely to be called as expert witnesses must complete the ACLM Expert Witness Training program.



  3. PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE

  4. Affiliate & Associate members do not require specific practical experience, but must fulfill the academic qualification requirements

    Members must have completed three years of active clinical practice after attaining full medical or dental registration. Note the above supervision requirements for full training course candidates.

    Fellows must have completed six years of active clinical practice after attaining full medical or dental registration. Note the above supervision requirements for full training course candidates.

    The practical experience for both Fellowship and Membership categories must involve employment/practice in a medical or dental occupation, which requires the practical application of civil law and / or criminal law to a degree unusual in normal professional practice. Suitable appointments where this component may be satisfied include:

    Advisers to private legal firms, to relevant public institutions or corporations, and also to Governments and hospitals.

    Certain advisers working in Occupational Medicine and Insurance, including some people working in or with Workers' Compensations schemes and Third Party organisations.

    Doctors and Dentists employed by the Police, the Coroner, or in Correctional Services Systems.

    Defence Society Practitioners.

    Practitioners working in University Departments.



  5. COLLEGE COMMITMENT REQUIREMENTS

  6. Applicants for all categories of membership must acknowledge and undertake to maintain a commitment to the aims, rules, and ideals of the College as stated in the College Constitution (Memorandum & Articles of Association)


COLLEGE SYLLABUSES

The College has various syllabuses specific to each specialist group within the College and these are available on application. The complete College syllabus is:

A working knowledge of the legal system and / or judicial system as relevant and its methodology and requirements including its procedures and law reform.

A similar knowledge of the policing and penal systems including the philosophy of corrections

A knowledge of the history of Legal Medicine and of world legal systems; alternatively or including a history of Medical Jurisprudence and of World Justice and Investigatory systems.

A working knowledge of the requirements of the Courts applicable to expert witnesses.

A working knowledge of the laws and or legal and clinical aspects applicable to the specific areas of practice of the member, including :

  • Abortion
  • Adoption
  • Ageing – including Elder Abuse, Guardianship & Testamentary
  • Capacity
  • Alcoholism
  • Automatism
  • Blood Grouping including DNA testing
  • Certification
  • Children and Young Persons (including their abuse)
  • Civil Disobedience & Rioting
  • Compensation Schemes including Insurance & Third Party Claims, and Worker's Compensation
  • Commonwealth & State Health Care Systems
  • Confidentiality
  • Consent
  • Corrections and Penal Systems
  • Criminal Responsibility
  • Death including Burial and Cremation
  • Documentation
  • Drinking and Driving including Count backs
  • Drugs
  • Employers' Obligations
  • Ethics and Standards
  • Euthanasia
  • False Confession
  • Family Court Matters
  • Fire & Electrical Injuries including the Effects of Lightning
  • Fitness to Drive
  • Fitness to be Detained
  • Fitness to be Interviewed
  • Forensic Entomology
  • Forensic Odontology
  • Forensic Photography
  • Forensic Radiology
  • Forensic Science
  • Freedom of Information
  • Head Injuries
  • Industrial Accidents
  • Infanticide and Child Destruction
  • Insurance including Assessments, Risk and Claims
  • Litigation
  • Mass Disaster
  • Mental Health
  • Negligence
  • Notification Responsibilities
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Offences against the Person including Sexual Offences
  • Poisoning including Drug Overdosage
  • Privacy
  • Professional Boards
  • Professional Defence
  • Professional Tribunals
  • Registration of Births & Deaths
  • Removal & Transplantation of Human Tissue
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Road Traffic Matters
  • Scenes & Times of Death
  • Sexual Variations
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Slander
  • Specimen Handling
  • Substance Abuse
  • Suicide & Para-suicide including Suicides in Custody
  • Terrorism
  • The Coroner
  • The Dating of Wounds from their Cosmetic Appearance
  • The Department of Veteran's Affairs Health Care System
  • The Examination of Claimants & Defendants
  • The Preservation of Evidence
  • Torture
  • Victimology including Criminal Injuries Compensation
  • Weapons
  • Wounds and Injuries and their Interpretation


QUALITY ASSURANCE AND CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION

Desirable Competencies for Practitioners in the Clinical Forensic Medicine "Stream":

  • An in depth knowledge of the Judicial System and its methodology and requirements including its procedures and law reform.
  • A similar knowledge of Policing & Penal Systems including the philosophy of Corrections.

The Australasian College of Legal Medicine requires its members to maintain the highest professional and personal standards. Of these the College expects its members to maintain their expertise by continually updating plus acting with a view to always increasing their level of knowledge.


Fellows and Members are required to devote a minimum of 16 hours per annum to activities specific to their stream in the College, at least 8 of which must involve participation in College conferences or State academic meetings. Submission of peer reviewable articles to the College Legal Medicine Journal qualifies for up to 4 hours per accepted article.


All Fellows and Members are subject to audit and this occurs at least once every 5 years. Full details of this plus further information about the College's Quality Assurance Program are available from the Vice President, Academic.



SUBSCRIPTIONS & FEES

Subscription rates for the Australasian College of Legal Medicine are set annually and there is a fee differential according to a member's status. Additionally there is a fee for entry to the College. Examinations run by the College also attract fees as do advancements of status. Fully retired members who have been full fee paying members of the College for a minimum of 5 years can apply to the College for a reduction of their subscription rate. Special circumstance reductions may also be applied for. A complete list of these fees and others that may be set from time to time are available from the Vice President - Administration.

 

Your email inquiries are most welcome: aclm9@legalmedicine.com.au





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