The earliest mention of facets of what today is known as "Forensic Medicine" are to be found in writings from Babylon, ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire, India, and China. Many mediaeval Papal laws were formulated to control the relationship between physician and patient. Some laws protected the populace from negligent or irresponsible practitioners, whereas others were to the advantage of the doctor rather. Forensic Medicine became an independent discipline when, in 1532 the LEX CAROLINA appeared in Germany. This law provided for the dissection of bodies for the purpose of determining causes of death, and this meant that medical evidence was to acquire increasing importance in the Courts. Other western countries very soon adopted the LEX CAROLINA, and, consequently from this date there was rapid development in forensic medicine. The duty of the Medical Practitioner in the law courts is to give expert evidence and advice. This entails his giving detailed descriptions of the nature and the extent of injuries determined in clinical or post mortem examination, as well as his appearing in an advisory capacity. Any Medical Practitioner may be summoned to court to give expert advice, and it is for this reason that all medical undergraduates are taught the essentials of Forensic Medicine. The Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Pretoria has been in existence since 1944 and since 1967 has been training both undergraduate and post-graduate students.