Forensic medicine deals with issues arising in the course of civil and criminal law proceedings which can only be answered by medical expertise.
Synonym – forensic medicine (from the Latin forensis meaning ‘public, of a forum’).
In ancient Rome, trials including examinations, sentencing and punishment were held at the forum, the centre of the Roman world – in short, ‘justice was served at the forum’.
Forensic medicine is a field of applied medicine that serves to establish the truth and uphold the law. Forensic medicine is not a curative discipline. Forensic medicine is a specific form of science with an additional range of tasks – it is a combination of medical, scientific and legal knowledge.
As an independent authority, it is the responsibility of forensic medicine to establish links between medical fact and legal questions, thereby making a decisive contribution to the investigation of crimes.
The work of sworn and certified expert witnesses of forensic medicine commissioned by the public prosecutor’s office and the court is of major importance.
There are four Institutes/Centers for Forensic Medicine (IFM/CFM) in Austria, Vienna, Salzburg - Linz, Graz and Innsbruck, which cover the areas shown in the following image: