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Personal injury and medico-legal issues in civil litigation

Civil litigation in relation to personal injury, and coroners' investigations can require information on the risks to which claimants have been exposed, and the consequences of treatments or accidents. This workshop will consider issues and questions which are faced by legal professionals regarding epidemiology and statistical evidence.

Confirmed speakers (Draft timetable and talk titles)

His Honour Judge Thomas Teague KC, Chief Coroner of England and Wales, Dec 2020 to May 2024

Astrid Smart KC, Compass Chambers, Edinburgh

Professor Niamh Nic Daeid, Director, Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science, Dundee University

Professor Tim Cole FMedSci, UCL Institute of Child Health

Ms Michaela Guthrie, Partner, Balfour + Manson LLP, Edinburgh

Professor Richard Goldberg, Durham Law School

Professor Jane Hutton, Department of Statistics, University of Warwick

Dr Amy Wilson, School of Mathematics, University of Edinburgh

Michael Rawlinson KC, 12 King's Bench Walk

Professor John Norrie FRSE, School of Medicine, University of Edinburgh


Does exposure to asbestos material increase the individual’s risk of developing mesothelioma?

Is there evidence that this medical implant fails at a higher rate than the accepted standard?

How old is this young, unaccompanied asylum-seeker?

We are instructed in respect of a personal injury claim following an accident. What is her life expectancy but for the accident, and after the accident?

What use are epidemiological studies in answering the question posed on an individual basis?

How accurate and useful are the estimates of an individual’s risk, given the uncertainty surrounding exposure levels and how precise the risk levels are when exposure is so low?


Approaches to evaluating risks of vaccinations, medical treatments and devices and estimating the long-term health outcomes after medical, industrial and traffic injuries will be discussed.

Legal and statistical interpretations of evidence will be compared. The relation between legal questions and statistical concepts is the first consideration. Accessing and assessing data follows, with statistical evaluation of quality and relevance. Alternative methods of estimating treatment effects, quality and length of life will be compared.

Effective approaches to presenting results to different audiences is an important aspect of this workshop. The Statistics and the Law Section of the Royal Statistical Society has contributed to primers for legal professionals:

The use of statistics in legal proceedings: A primer for courts .The Royal Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Statistics and Probability for advocates: understanding the use of statistical evidence in courts and tribunals. The Inns of Court College of Advocacy and Royal Statistical Society.

This workshop will be an opportunity to evaluate these documents, and recommend modifications or extensions.

Continuing Professional Development

This workshop will provide up to 6 hours of verifiable CPD for the Law Society of Scotland and the Royal Statistical Society.


If you would like to attend this workshop please complete the registration formLink opens in a new window.

Dates: 27th - 28th June

Provisional times: 10:00 on 27th June to 16:30 on 28th June 2024.


27th June: University of Edinburgh, Lecture Theatre A, 40 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LX

28th June: Faculty of Advocates Mackenzie Building, 172 Old Assembly Close, High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1QX

Attendance fee: A fee of £100 will cover refreshments, lunches and dinner on 27th June.