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Forensic Medicine & Toxicology

Forensic Medicine is a challenging branch of Medicine where the medical knowledge assists in resolving matters before courts of law or other fora which could be with regard to criminal cases or civil disputes. Forensic Medicine embodies both Forensic Pathologies which deals with medico-legal management of the dead, and Clinical Forensic Medicine which deals with the living, in order to assist the administration of justice. In Sri Lanka, a medical graduate possessing an MBBS degree is considered an expert medical witness in a court of law, thus requiring all doctors who qualify, to be able to carry out routine medico-legal duties. This course would assist students to achieve that objective.


Some of the main functions of a forensic medical practitioner include conducting forensic or medicolegal autopsies, examination of victims of violence which includes victims of sexual and gender-based violence and victims of torture, compiling reports to courts, and providing oral testimony. Teamwork with allied professionals like forensic scientists, police officers investigating crimes and legal professionals in the criminal justice is key to be a successful forensic medical practitioner. A basic awareness of the legal framework of the country and relevant criminal law is useful.  


There are several forensic subspecialties that a doctor needs to be aware of, such as forensic toxicology, forensic genetics, forensic radiology, forensic anthropology and forensic psychiatry to name a few.