New Course Aims to Equip Vets for Court Witness Role

With increasing numbers of veterinary professionals required to act as witnesses in court, Improve International has launched a new two-day course to equip members of the practice team with the skills and knowledge they need to fulfil this role effectively.

The course, led by veterinary surgeons Mr Peter Jinman OBE, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and Mr Paul Roger, European Diplomate in Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine, and covers areas such as:

  • The preparation and delivery of evidence for a legal framework
  • Meaningful data recording in practice
  • Witness statements and report writing for the court system, including the professional obligations required.


A witness is an individual who has personal knowledge of events pertaining to a case and who can testify as to things they have personally observed or witnessed. They may attend court in person or provide a witness statement.  Vets may, for instance, be asked to give an opinion on the treatment given to an animal by another vet.  They may also be asked to give an opinion as to cause of death or of an injury that an animal has suffered.

Improve’s new course, entitled ‘The Role of the Veterinary Team in Court – An Introduction’ helps delegates to learn how to collect, preserve and present evidence and, where appropriate, to interpret it in a legal context. It also aims to familiarise them with the responsibilities and duties linked to the provision of witness statements, professional reports, different types of evidence and their application within the civil, criminal and alternative dispute procedures.

Improve International is one of the UK’s leading veterinary training companies with a 20-year track record in providing structured continuing professional development (CPD) to veterinary professionals.  It works closely with assessment partner, the European School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies (ESVPS), and Harper Adams University, which provides the higher education body quality assurance.

Commenting on the new course, tutor Peter Jinman explained: “Any member of the practice can be called as a witness, perhaps as a consequence of a consultation relating to a possible welfare offence.  It can be an intimidating experience as the process is often unfamiliar.

“This course aims to demystify the legal and court process and to equip delegates with the knowledge as to what is required when faced with a case that may lead to a prosecution and an appearance in court.  It will also help them to prepare professional statements and keep records in a manner that stand up to scrutiny in court.”

Commenting, David Babington MRCVS, Managing Director of Improve International, said:  “At Improve, we aim to help vets and the whole practice team to enhance their clinical expertise and to learn new skills.  We hope this course will offer a useful introduction to those colleagues who are asked to appear as a fact witness during court proceedings.”

Part of Benchmark Holdings Plc and based in Swindon, Improve International provides high quality CPD in a range of formats for veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, receptionists and practice managers to help them to develop their skills and knowledge, using a combination of review lectures, case-based discussion and where, applicable, hands-on practical sessions.