Go Legal Basics of Forensic Medicine | Forensic Medicine

Legal basis of forensic examination

  • Organizational forms of forensic examination
  • Objects of forensic examination, the basic conditions and the regulation of its production
  • Forensic examination during the preliminary investigation
  • Forensic examination in the process of judicial investigation
  • In the practical activities of the bodies of inquiry, investigation and the court there is a need to use special knowledge in engineering, science, art or craft. To solve such questions and to give the opinion of the person making the inquiry (investigator, prosecutor or court), they invite specialists who, in their opinion, possess the necessary knowledge for this. A knowledgeable person giving an opinion in such cases is referred to as an expert.

    The application of medical knowledge and the production of the necessary research to solve issues arising in the practical activities of the inquiry, investigation and court, called forensic examination.

    Examination, including forensic, is one of the types of evidence in investigative and judicial processes. In the Criminal Procedure Code, expert opinions are cited along with other types of evidence, such as the testimony of witnesses, the victim, the suspect, the accused, as well as physical evidence, protocols of investigative and judicial actions and other documents (Criminal Procedure Code 69) 1.

    The examination is appointed in the process of preliminary or judicial investigation in criminal cases, when “special knowledge in science, technology, art or craft is necessary” (Article 78 of the Criminal Procedure Code). The Civil Procedure Code also provides for the use of expertise (Article 74-78 of the Code of Civil Procedure).


    The law (Art. 79 of the Code of Criminal Procedure) provides for the mandatory appointment of a forensic medical examination to establish the cause of death and the nature of the injuries, to determine the mental state of the accused, suspect or witness if doubts arise about this condition, as well as to establish the physical condition of the witness or the victim and age determination, as appropriate.

    The following note deserves special attention: “The inspector in the presence of attesting witnesses and with the participation of a medical examiner, and if his participation is impossible, is examined by a different doctor on the spot where he was found” (Article 180 of the Code of Criminal Procedure). From this it follows that only persons with a completed higher medical education can be involved in the examination (as well as in the production of the subsequent examination) and that any doctor can be invited as an expert regardless of which faculty he graduated from, as well as from the chosen specialty and position. Hence the necessity of studying in all higher medical educational institutions of forensic medicine to such an extent that every doctor can carry out a forensic medical examination (meaning the most common cases). Other medical workers (medical assistant, midwife, etc.) are not granted the right to conduct forensic examinations, studies and examinations, since this requires appropriate theoretical and practical training, which is received only in higher medical schools.

    Regarding the choice of the forensic expert of the CPC (Art. 180), it gives a very definite indication: you should invite the forensic examiner before calling a “other doctor”. In the USSR, they are doctors who have chosen forensic medicine as their specialty, have received appropriate training and are constantly improving their specialized knowledge. They are full-time forensic experts; Doctors who perform expert functions only sporadically are called expert doctors (Order of the Minister of Health of the USSR No. 166 of 04/10/62).


    The articles of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP) and the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) of the RSFSR are cited, and the relevant articles of the CCP and CCP of other Union Republics are meant.

    The mentioned categories of medical experts differ only in name, rights, duties, forms and degree of responsibility of forensic experts and doctors-experts in accordance with procedural norms are exactly the same.

    In investigative and judicial practice, the use of forensic medical examination significantly goes beyond the boundaries of the above-mentioned mandatory conditions for its appointment. As a rule, the need for forensic examinations, examinations and examinations, as well as obtaining opinions, arises in the investigation of almost all crimes against the life, health and dignity of the individual (Chapter III of the Special Part of the Criminal Code), professional and professional violations of medical workers, some violations of the rules protecting the health of the people (Chapter X of the Criminal Code), certain military crimes (Chapter XII of the Criminal Code), etc .; in civil proceedings, for example, in cases of dissolution of marriage, alimony claims, compensation for material damage due to violation or disability and in other cases stipulated by civil law and requiring the use of medical knowledge.

    Professors and teachers of the departments of forensic medicine, research assistants of the Research Institute of Forensic Medicine, specialists from healthcare institutions and other departments can be involved in conducting forensic examinations. In carrying out these duties, these persons, in their procedural position, are equated to full-time experts.

    A forensic expert or other physician, participating in the initial investigative actions, performs the function not of an expert, but only of a specialist in the field of forensic medicine. He assists the investigator in finding, securing and seizing evidence, gives appropriate explanations, becomes acquainted with the protocol drawn up by the investigator, and signs it. The activity of a specialist is regulated by special articles of the criminal procedure and civil procedure codes of the union republics.