Barcelona City Council | Capital humàBarcelona City Council website

Home  > Job profiles

Get to know this occupation


A forensic pathologist performs the usual care activities of legal and forensic medicine services. They are tenured civil servants and constitute a higher qualified body reporting to the Justice Administration. They are assigned to an Institute of Legal Medicine or the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences. Exceptionally, and when the needs of the service so require such as in the event of attacks, accidents or epidemics with many victims, they may be assigned to courts, public prosecutors and civil registry offices.

The Institutes of Legal Medicine are located in provincial capitals which have a High Court of Justice and in those which have Chambers of High Courts of Justice with jurisdiction in one or more provinces.


The main duties of a forensic pathologist are as follows:
  • Determine the causes and circumstances of death in cases of violent death or where crime is suspected by means of a judicial autopsy (which includes examination of the scene during the legally sanctioned removal of the corpse and also internal and external examination of the corpse) for recent and also old deaths, in the latter case by studying bodily remains and/or bones.
  • Perform legal medicine research at the scene of the accident or other events in order to find evidence that adds to the autopsy report.
  • Carry out regular inspections of the injured and evaluate personal injury where this is the subject of court proceedings. That is to say, they deal with people who have suffered an attack or accident as well as corpses.
  • Produce expert reports and legal medical opinions and attend trials and other judicial proceedings mostly related to the various aspects of their speciality.
  • Provide technical assistance to the courts, public prosecutors and civil registry offices in aspects of their professional discipline, including forensic pathology and thanatology practice as well as care or medical supervision of detainees, the injured or sick who are under their jurisdiction.
  • Take part in scientific activities including clinical sessions and seminars, research projects, attending and presenting papers at speciality conferences, publication of speciality papers, taking part in continuous learning programmes, etc.
A forensic pathologist works with full independence and under strictly scientific criteria in trial proceedings or investigation of any kind, under the orders of judges, magistrates, prosecutors and civil registry offices.

Quick access and copyright:

Centre per al desenvolupament professional Porta22

Barcelona Treball (Porta22)
Llacuna, 156-162, 08018 Barcelona

Monday to Friday from 9 to 18 h

Generalitat de Catalunya
Unió Europea FEDER
Unió Europea FSE