In 2004 the CDCJ commissioned Professor
Herman NYS to draft a Report on Medical Liability in Europe. The Report
has been examined by the CDCJ as well as by the European Health
Committee (CDSP) and the Steering Committee on Bioethics (CDBI). The
CDBI and the CDSP emphasised the importance of an exchange of views at a
European level in this field and took the view that the organisation of
a multi-disciplinary seminar would be the appropriate next step.
It was agreed that the seminar should
cover different aspects of burden of proof in medical liability claims,
the right of patients to informed consent and alternative ways for
settling disputes emerging from medical care. An additional question of
a doctor giving medical advice or assistance in one country and being
sued in another country in relation to that advice should also be
Furthermore any activities in the area
of medical liability would fall within the remit of the Council of
Europe, following the Warsaw Summit, to assist member states to deliver
justice fairly and rapidly and develop alternative means for the
settlement of disputes.
In this regard, the CDCJ suggested
setting up a group of experts to prepare this seminar during 2007.
Consequently, the draft terms of reference of the Group of Scientific
experts on medical liability (CJ-S-MED) were drawn up by the CDCJ and
adopted by the Committee of Ministers in January 2007. The Group held a
first meeting in June 2007 where it will took stock of the activities
already carried out in this area by the Council of Europe, identified
and proposed topics to be discussed at the seminar and considered the
various sectors that should be represented at the seminar in order to
ensure a comprehensive coverage of the topics proposed.