Employees with the status of forensic expert have the right to provide expert opinion based on field specific examinations. In 2017, EFSI employed 84 forensic experts.
The minimum requirements for awarding the forensic expert status are based on the Forensic Examination Act. The forensic expert competence is acquired through training.
The forensic medical expert training is provided at the University of Tartu under the 4-year residency programme of forensic medicine. Residents acquire professional skills at EFSI, which is one of the training base of the University of Tartu.
There is no educational institution for training forensic experts in the other fields of forensic science in Estonia, and the experts are trained at EFSI under the guidance of experienced professionals, in the course of practical work and according to the training plan of experts. In most cases, training lasts for 2 years. The training plan contains both general and specialist topics and aim at acquiring professional competences. The training plan is prepared based on the special features of each type of expertise, also taking into account the professional academic background and previous work experience of the trainee expert.
If an employee complies with the requirements set out for a forensic expert in the Forensic Examination Act, has completed training and acquired sufficient experience to provide independent expert opinion, he or she is awarded the forensic expert status. One may commence employment as a forensic expert after taking the forensic expert’s oath established in the Forensic Examination Act.
EFSI is a cooperation partner of courts, the prosecutor’s office and employees of investigative bodies in organising and providing trainings. The EFSI experts also provide training to students of formal educational institutions and health professionals of the Defence Forces. Close to 700 employees of partner organisations receive training throughout the year. The training topics cover almost the whole field of activity of EFSI, of which the most common topics are: examinations of narcotic substances, formalising and processing of traffic accidents, processing of fires, observations of sample autopsies, firearms examination trainings, DNA sampling and packaging of DNA samples, preparation of examination orders or rulings, marks examinations, dactyloscopy, handwriting and document examinations and information technology examinations. The trainings organised by EFSI are up to date, unique and consider the needs of the target group and aim to communicate the most current knowledge and skills of the EFSI experts.