Code of Conduct for TIAFT Members
Robert Wennig (Chair), Donald Uges, Anya Pierce, Laurent Rivier, John Lewis, Graham Jones
TIAFT is an international organization of forensic toxicologists founded in 1963 in London, UK. As forensic toxicological investigations may have important medical, social and legal implications, all members of TIAFT should have a high sense of professional responsibility and high ethical standards. Because of the importance of these high standards, TIAFT members should be asked to sign a declaration promising to adhere to them.
All TIAFT members should treat their peers and colleagues with honesty and respect. Membership in TIAFT should not be regarded as a qualification - e.g. not used on letterhead, business cards. TIAFT members should not misrepresent their academic and professional qualifications. TIAFT publications should not be used for advertising of personal professional services.
The highest standards of integrity are required when writing and submitting scientific papers for publication. The same high standards should apply to press and broadcast interviews as well as other forms of communication such as books, lectures and contributions to electronic media.
Privacy and dignity of persons (living or dead) should be respected.
TIAFT members should strive to present and publish their research findings in suitable scientific media such as journals and at appropriate scientific meetings.
Authors should be aware of intellectual property laws governing copyright. In particular they should guard against wrongful disclosure of confidential information, especially that relating to current research and development work. In case of any doubt specific written approval from the appropriate organisation or individual should be obtained.
Research results should be presented in an unequivocal manner and as completely as practical to avoid misinterpretation. It is unethical to manipulate analytical or experimental data in an effort to bias interpretation. Results or data obtained from another source or results already published should be properly cited or acknowledged.
Experiments with human volunteers must conform to the recommended guidelines for biomedical research involving human subjects published by the World Medical Association's Declaration of Helsinki and subsequent amendments, in addition to any local guidelines or legislation.
All experiments with human volunteers or laboratory animals should be approved by a local ethics committee.
In planning research projects great care must be taken to minimize risk to those involved. Animal experiments should be minimized and any stress, pain and privations kept to a minimum.
TIAFT members should strive to remain current in the field of forensic toxicology and related fields. In order to assist in promoting a high level of professional competence, TIAFT members should try to participate in scientific meetings, seminars and workshops, including TIAFT conferences.
Where TIAFT-members are directly involved in analytical work, demonstration and documentation of competence through participation in quality assurance and proficiency testing programmes is strongly recommended. TIAFT members should only provide expert opinions and services for which they have sufficient professional competence.
Safety and Environmental Awareness
Daily laboratory work should be undertaken with proper regard for accepted safety standards. The materials and procedures used should minimize hazards to the environment.
The function of an expert witness is to assist courts in arriving at a verdict by explaining and interpreting the technical and scientific facts on which a lawsuit may depend.
Opinions should be given with a conscientious, objective and neutral manner, with proper regard for the serious nature of the matter at hand. The same considerations apply when evidence is presented at other hearings and committees.
Data Protection and Professional Discretion
Personal data must be protected. Where cases are published, it should not be possible to discover the identity of the subject. Results of investigations should be disclosed only to authorized persons or agencies.
TIAFT meetings should not be organized with the goal of personal financial gain.