The Health Sciences Faculty of the University of Cape Town (UCT) is collaborating with Burns-Hoffman Consulting to offer a course designed to enlighten, teach and prepare health professionals about and for their role in the non-clinical context of a courtroom.

The UCT Division of Occupational Therapy will be running the next course on ‘The Provision of Expert Opinion & Evidence as a Health Professional’ from 4 to 8 June 2018 at the UCT Lung Institute. According to the organisers, the course is designed to help medically qualified expert witnesses build their skills and confidence in court so as to ensure as equitable and fair an outcome as possible.

“Any health professional called on to testify needs to understand the business and legal context of their opinion, as well as how the manner in which their report is written and they present in court, can affect the outcome of the case. It is rather ‘too little too late’ to learn and adjust what could have been better managed while under cross-examination,” said Expert Witness and Claims Consultant, Elise Burns-Hoffman.

The course is for all health professionals who work in, are aligned with and or wish to become involved in expert work, whether via opinion, assessment or giving evidence in court. It is suitable for healthcare practitioners whose work involves acting as an expert witness in civil or criminal legal matters and for appropriately experienced or qualified life insurance personnel working with disability claims.

The course lecturers have extensive experience in their respective fields and include a respected retired Supreme Court of Appeal judge; senior and junior counsel; independent business practitioners and others.

According to Burns-Hoffman, the course is practical in nature, incorporating a substantial amount of court simulated expert witness training not currently provided in any other university or training forum in South Africa.

Participants have to pass a short examination following the completion of the course in order to become certified as an expert witness and earn 32 CPD points for attending the course.

More information about the course can be found here or by contacting Elise Burns-Hoffman on

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