Health Professionals Must Exercise Caution When Participating Personally in Legal Proceedings

The decision of JK v. BJH 2016 CanLII 85163 (ON HPARB) reminds health professionals to be very careful when preparing affidavits for use in legal proceedings in which they have a personal interest. This means ensuring that they qualify their role, and make clear that they are not giving a professional opinion or advice.

ICRC decision:

A doctor’s sister was in a family law proceeding with her estranged husband. The doctor swore an affidavit in which he identified himself as a physician and stated that he observed the husband being verbally aggressive toward his sister in front of their child. The doctor also stated that he believed the husband had “an anger management problem that may be connected to poorly controlled diabetes.”

The husband made a complaint to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (the College) complaining, among other things, that: the doctor used his status as a physician to influence the court; the statements in the affidavit were untruthful; and the doctor should not have disclosed the husband’s personal health information in the affidavit.

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