Forensic medicine is a field of medicine which provides the justice system – police, prosecutor and the courts – with medical expertise in the investigation of unnatural and sudden unexpected deaths, assault and sexual crimes. Hence, forensic medicine is the only medical specialty not working with health care in one form or another.
The result of a medico-legal investigation often has a great impact upon the decisions reached by the prosecutor and the court of law, – e.g. 8–10% of all homicides are revealed at the autopsy table. Just as important is that a medico-legal investigation often can rule out foul play and, as a consequence, a suspect can be freed from suspicion and released while also sparing police resources
Through expertise in traumatology and toxicology, forensic medicine aids in the prevention of crime, injury and disease. Medico-legal investigations also reveal the causes of sudden natural deaths, where information to next-of-kins is an important task. Forensic medicine also includes teaching and information of personnel and students within the legal and the health care systems.