Episode 26: 'I swear to tell the whole truth’ - PART 2

Author: Eoghan Colgan @eoghan_colgan
Special Guests: Sheriff Andrew Cubie, Dr David Parratt QC, Moira Orr (Procurator Fiscal)



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Guest Bios


Sheriff Andrew Cubie graduated with a First Class Honours degree from the University of Glasgow. He was a solicitor in private practice in Glasgow from 1987, specialising in civil court work, with emphasis on family law. He was appointed as a Temporary sheriff from 1997-1999. He was admitted as a Solicitor Advocate with rights of audience in the Court of Session in 2001. During his time in private practice he taught civil procedure at Strathclyde University and the Glasgow Graduate School of Law. He devised and taught an in-house course for the Scottish Legal Aid Board.

Sheriff Cubie was appointed as a permanent Sheriff from 2003. Initially an all- Scotland Floating Sheriff, he was a resident Sheriff at Stirling from December 2004 to June 2010 when he moved to be one of the resident Sheriffs at Glasgow Sheriff Court. He has contributed regularly to judicial training and has lectured to, amongst others, local faculties, reporters to the children’s panel and medical professionals. He sits on the council of the Sheriffs’ Association and on the UK Judicial Pensions Committee. He has contributed articles to a number of publications including Scots Law Times, Scottish Criminal Law and Benchmark, the newsletter of the Judiciary of England and Wales. He contributed to MacPhail on Sheriff Court Practice in 2006. InSeptember 2010 his textbook on “Scots Criminal Law” was published.

Dr David Parratt QC


David has a wide ranging practice covering many different aspects of civil law. He is particularly strong in the areas of land law construction, trust work, general commercial work and contract.

He has a keen interest in international commercial arbitration and has practical experience of various forms of alternative dispute resolution including arbitration, adjudication and mediation. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb), holds Chartered Status and is a Board Member of the Faculty's Dispute Resolution Service.

He has lectured in Arbitration in the Universities of Dundee, Dubai and Aberdeen and is peer appointed as an arbitrator onto many international panels.

David has prosecuted in the High Court of Justiciary, appeared in Outer House and led as counsel in the Inner House. He has also appeared before the Sheriff Courts, before the sheriffs principal, the Scottish Land Court and the Scottish Lands Tribunal.

David also has rights of audience in other jurisdictions having called to the English Bar (Lincoln's Inn) in 2009 where he is a member of Crown Office Chambers as well as the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2016.

Since 2012, he has held the position of Director of Training and Education, being responsible for the training of intrants on the Faculty's 9 month training programme.

Moira Orr

Procurator Fiscal, Glasgow

Show Notes

This is the second in a multi-part series on the interface between healthcare and the legal system. We aim to cover all the main essentials including:

  1. the structure of the legal system

  2. how to provide statements and prepare for court

  3. conduct within court (and what to expect)

We have 3 incredible guests giving expert advice for health professionals called to court.

This episode covers record-taking, police statements and precognitions.

Take Home Points

Record Keeping

  • Very often medical evidence can be agreed between the parties before court

  • Clear, understandable and legible notes will help with this

  • Often doctors invited to clarify something the court couldn’t decipher


Common Frustrations with notes

  • Poor legibility and difficult to understand

    • You may have to read notes from another doctor (and others may have to read from yours)

    • Try to be as legible as possible

  • Poorly organized notes

  • Forms not fully completed (dates etc)


Documenting Criminal Information

  • It is not the duty of the doctor to record evidence, rather the medically relevant information


There are two ways to share your evidence with legal system

Police Statement

  • Earliest statement and has multiple functions

    • Allows Police to better understand and investigate the crime

    • Police then share electronically with the Procurator Fiscal (Crown) Office who use it to determine the correct prosecution, and forum (court) for the crime

    • Once a prosecution is initiated it is shared with the defence to allow them to prepare their case (no personal information is shared)

    • So please fill in expediently

  • It is a form of evidence and you will be cross-examined on it

  • The purpose of a police statement in court is:

    • To put to witnesses who have forgotten something (and do help them to remember)

    • To put to witnesses who are being unhelpful or untruthful and to speak to their original statement

    • If you depart from your original statement then you will be questioned on this

  • Police are encouraged to get witnesses to sign statements – this provides additional status in law

  • For doctors – it helps the prosecutors understand what your evidence is likely to be (it is of less importance if they are signed or not)



  • A meeting with members of Procurator Fiscal Service (or sometimes a defence team) to explore in more depth your opinions of what happened, and to seek further information in a complex case

  • They are a record of what you are likely to say and they don’t have probitive value

  • They do not have the same status as a statement, it is not shared with the ‘other side’ and cannot be put to you in court

  • You will not need to sign them

Hannah BellComment