Group of scientific experts on medical liability (CJ-S-MED)

In 2004 the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) commissioned an expert to draft a Report on Medical Liability in Europe, which has subsequently been examined by both CDCJ, the European Health Committee (CDSP) and the Steering Committee on Bioethics (CDBI).

As a result, it was considered appropriate to organise an exchange of views at a European level in this field, followed by a multi-disciplinary seminar.

Moreover, having in mind the Action Plan adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe at their Third Summit (Warsaw, 16-17 May 2005) which makes reference to the support to member states in developing “alternative means for the settlement of disputes”, the CDCJ suggested setting up a group of experts to prepare this seminar during 2007.

It was agreed that such an event 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 considered.

Consequently, a Group of scientific experts on medical liability (CJ-S-MED) was set under the authority of CDCJ in 2007. The experts held only one meeting in June 2007 where they took stock of the activities already carried out by the Council of Europe in this area and proposed topics for discussion at a Conference to be organised.

The Conference entitled “The ever-growing challenge of medical liability: national and European responses" took place in Strasbourg on 2-3 June 2008. It was divided into four main sessions:

  • Overview of Medical liability in Council of Europe member states;
  • Legal approach to medical liability issues;
  • Existing remedies in Council of Europe member States;
  • The role and responsibility of the private and public sectors for financing medical liability claims.

Since then the Council of Europe did not carry out further work related to medical liability.