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11.4.2 Common deficiencies of advocate's reports
Unsolicited medical reports (i.e. those not compiled at the instructions of the Delegate) are not always useful because:
- In some cases, the medical report presented by the solicitor may indeed be convincing, but the Delegate is already in possession of similar medical reports and already has evidence capable of properly informing him/her of the medical issues, i.e. the new and unsolicited report is a duplication of previous material, and is completely unnecessary.
- In other cases, the unsolicited medical report may not be at all convincing. For instance, it may not deal with all of the issues that interest the Delegate, or contain logical or convincing reasons for the conclusions presented by the doctor. Delegates are seldom provided with the 'terms of reference' i.e. the form of the questions put to that doctor by the client's representative. Also, the Delegate may not have confidence in the opinions of that particular doctor, (i.e. objectivity, based on the Delegate's experience of that doctor's earlier reports in other cases.)
- In most cases, the solicitor's chosen doctor is not provided with all of the available medical background, i.e. was not in possession all relevant ADF medical notes and/or other specialist medical reports, particularly those which the Delegate has identified as significant in his/her preliminary opinion. In fact these documents may have been available only through the Delegate.
- Particularly with regard to psychiatric cases, a doctor briefed by a client's representative will seldom have been provided with the Commonwealth's accepted or verified version of the circumstances in which the illness arose. Doctors and psychiatrists briefed by solicitors, etc. must therefore base their opinion about causation on the unsupported testimony of the client alone. This may often depart widely from the verifiable employment and circumstantial history.