Aug 9, 2019 by Foresight

When is a Psychiatric Report Necessary in a Court Case?

The human mind is something of an enigma and it is the role of a psychiatrist to make sense of it. As a qualified medical doctor, a psychiatrist will have dedicated their career to the research, diagnosis and treatment of the many mental illnesses and behavioural disorders.

Only in recent years has the stigma against mental illness begun to lift and greater attention has been attributed to mental health. This is no less true when it comes to court. Increasingly, psychiatrist expert witnesses are appointed by solicitors to apply their clinical psychiatry experience to cases in which mental illness is a contributing factor. As providers of the most targeted network of court-ready psychiatrist expert witnesses, we are more than a little familiar with the cases in which a psychiatry report is essential. This week we want to share when a psychiatry report is necessary in order to support wellbeing and fair trial.

Psychiatry Report to Document Mental Illness Diagnosis

Without the necessary medical treatment, or as a result of triggers, a mental illness can become exacerbated. It can lead to a great deal of suffering for the individual and for their loved ones. When a psychiatric expert witness is instructed by a solicitor, they will perform in-depth analyses of the existing evidence alongside specialised psychiatric assessments of the individual/s involved. With vast clinical experience, the psychiatrist expert witness can use the psychiatric assessments to determine whether mental illness is a contributing factor to the case. If a mental illness is diagnosed by the psychiatric expert witness, it must be documented in the psychiatry report which can be used by the solicitor as evidence when forming their case.

A Psychiatry Report for Criminal Defence Cases

Whilst it is generally accepted that there is no correlation between mental illness and criminal behaviour, undoubtedly an untreated or aggravated mental illness can make an individual more vulnerable to behaviour that is not habitual. If the accused person is suspected of having or has previously been diagnosed with a mental illness, it is essential that this is confirmed by the psychiatrist expert witness and written into the psychiatry report. Not only is this information crucial for the solicitor, the psychiatry report can be shared directly with the court to ensure that they can make an informed decision with full knowledge of the accused’s mental illness, the way in which it manifests, and whether it was their illness that influenced the criminal activity rather than conscious intent.

A Psychiatry Report in Family Law

Family Law incorporates a great number of cases including divorce, domestic abuse and violence, asylum cases, forced marriage, debt and mental illness. Family Law solicitors are tasked with achieving justice for their clients and a psychiatry report from a psychiatry expert witness can significantly contribute to that. Where parenting and child welfare are concerned, a psychiatry expert witness may be appointed to determine whether a parent’s mental illness such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD is or is not putting the wellbeing of their children at risk. In cases of child abuse, a child psychiatrist is often instructed to understand whether the abuse has led to mental illness and what medical treatment is needed. Documenting their findings into a comprehensive and accessible psychiatry report, the psychiatry expert witness can ensure that the solicitor and the court can make informed judgements, thereby supporting fair trial.

The significance of a psychiatry report cannot go unnoticed. If you require a psychiatry report for your case with a fast turnaround and uncompromised quality, get in touch with the team at Foresight Clinical Services today where we can help you to appoint the best-suited psychiatrist



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