A significant task confronting the College is to begin to develop a curriculum. There are two streams, legal and forensic, each of which shares core knowledge as well as its own specific requirements. The Basic Law Intensive (BLI), the Advance Law Intensive (ALI) and the Expert Witness (EW) Course are designed to provide an intensive exposure to the College curriculum but cannot cover all areas of knowledge and are not sufficient on their own to achieve Fellowship or Membership qualifications.
For a Fellowship qualification, the College Articles of Association currently requires, inter alia, a Master level qualification in legal medicine or forensic medicine, or a Bachelor level legal degree. For a Membership qualification, a diploma level degree is required, as well as the BLI, ALI and the EW course. Common to both Fellowship and Membership is the requirement to complete an examination conducted by the College. Waiving the examination requirement should be the exception, not the rule.
Competencies common to both the legal and forensic streams include:
The specific requirements of the legal stream include:
The specific requirements of the forensic stream include:
Goals and learning objectives will need to be developed for each area, with content directed with reference to recommended texts, court judgments and relevant journal articles. The focus will essentially be academic in nature, expressed in a practical way through report writing and giving evidence in court. The emphasis will however, always remain on the law and clinical practice.
With respect to assessment of knowledge and skills gained, it is envisaged that the examination will be both written and oral. The written examination would likely be of two parts. The first part would involve core competencies common to each stream, made up of multiple choice questions and short answer questions. The second part would be specific to the legal or forensic stream, adopting a similar format.
The oral examination would likely involve a moot court scenario (examination-in-chief and cross examination on a prepared statement or report), and a number of oral scenarios (core and stream specific) requiring real time responses.
In summary, developing a detailed curriculum will form a framework on which the College can plan courses and examinations relevant to the legal and the forensic medical streams. It will also allow the College to further refine the CPD requirements to ensure members remain competent in their respective fields. Closing the loop would be achieved by evaluating the effectiveness of the curriculum, obtaining feedback and making improvements as required.
As one can see, much work needs to be done. What has been outlined above is designed to encourage input into the process and I would welcome any comments or recommendations from the membership so it can be as relevant as possible for both current and future members.
ACLM Secretary & Treasurer, August 2014