Harmonization of Medico-legal Autopsy (Protocol)

ECLM update of the principles and rules relating to medico - legal autopsy procedures
London, Fall/Winter 1994-1995
Updated, Dubai, January 2014

EUROPEAN COUNCIL OF LEGAL MEDICINE H armonisation of Medico - Legal Autopsy Rules ECLM update of the p rinciples and rules relating to medico - legal autopsy procedures Scope of the recommendation

1. In cases where death may be due to unnatural causes, the competent authority, accompanied by one or more medico
Legal experts, should where appropriate investigate the scene, examine the body and decide whether an autopsy should be carried out.

2. Aut opsies should be carried out in all obvious or suspected unnatural death, even where there is a delay between causative events and death, in particular:
a. homicide or suspected homicide;
b. sudden, unexpected death, including sudden infant death;
c. v iolation of human rights such as suspicion of torture or any other form of ill treatment;
d. suicide or suspected suicide; e. suspected medical malpractice;
f. accidents, whether transportational, occupational or domestic;
g. occupational disease and h azards; h. technological or environmental disasters;
i. death in custody or death associated with police or military activities;
j. unidentified or skeletalised bodies.

3. Medico
Legal experts must exercise their functions with total independence and impartiality. They should not be subject to any form of pressure and they should be objective in the exercise of their functions, in particular in the presentation of their results and conclusions.

Download PDF