European Council of Legal Medicine (ECLM) principles for on-site forensic and medico-legal scene and corpse investigation


Forensic medical practitioners need to define the general principles governing procedures to be used for the on-site examination of a body where the death has occurred in unnatural, violent or suspicious circumstances. These principles should be followed whenever a medical expert is required to perform an on-site corpse inspection and should be utilised as a set of general guidelines to be adapted to the specific situation in hand and interpreted using common sense and scientific knowledge of the relevant procedures and facts of the case. The aim of these principles is to ensure that forensic evidence at the scene of a death is properly observed and assessed and all necessary relevant evidence gathered in order to ensure that a comprehensive report is available to the judicial authority (investigating judge or coroner) in the justice system. The on-site corpse inspection by a forensic practitioner is a mandatory and essential stage of the forensic and medico-legal autopsy, as it may provide important information for subsequent investigation stages.

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Correspondence to D. Cusack.

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Cusack, D., Ferrara, S.D., Keller, E. et al. European Council of Legal Medicine (ECLM) principles for on-site forensic and medico-legal scene and corpse investigation. Int J Legal Med 131, 1119–1122 (2017).

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  • On-site forensic scene and corpse investigation
  • European Council of Legal Medicine
  • Forensic medical practitioner
  • Procedures and materials