Aug 9, 2019 by Foresight

Why is a Mental Illness Diagnosis Essential for Fair Trial?

A psychiatrist is a qualified medical doctor whose expertise lies in making sense of the intricate complexities and phenomenon held by the human mind. Over years of dedicated study, research, and clinical practice, psychiatry experts have acquired the skills to diagnose and treat patients with one or more of the 200+ classified mental illnesses and disorders including anxiety, acute depression, PTSD, and schizophrenia. Of course each mental illness manifests differently in each patient, and each patient requires particular medical treatment in order to manage, and in many cases recover from, their mental illness.

As providers of the most targeted UK medical expert witnesses, we regularly work with solicitors looking to instruct a psychiatry expert witness. From Family Law, to Civil Law, to Criminal Law, a psychiatry expert witness is indispensable in supporting fair trial and securing justice. Here, we share why.

Give Direction and Strength to the Case

A solicitor will have dedicated years to the study of law and specialised within their sector. Consequently they will have great competence and expertise in that area. It is unlikely that they have same level of expertise in psychiatry, and are certainly in no position to neither give accurate diagnoses of mental illnesses nor understand the effects of that illness.

In order for a solicitor to fully support their client and enable fair trial, they must build their case around the facts. Where mental illness is involved, those facts must come from a respected, experienced, and qualified psychiatrist expert witness. By doing in-depth psychiatric assessments alongside evaluations of the existing evidence, the psychiatry expert witness can provide substantial and significant information that a solicitor can use to build their case.

Ensure an Informed Decision is made by the Court

A comprehensive psychiatry report is a fundamental element to the role of a psychiatry expert witness. The psychiatry report documents the methodology and results of the psychiatric assessments, as well as the medical care the individual requires. Crucially, the psychiatry report is accessible to those who do not share the same specialised knowledge of the psychiatry expert witness. By sharing this report with the court, they too can understand how a mental illness has impacted the life and actions of the individual involved. The court can therefore come to an informed final decision, thus supporting a fair trial.

The Differences between a Psychology and Psychiatry Expert Witness

Notably, a psychiatry expert witness is able to accurately diagnose a mental illness during their psychiatric assessments. They can then present the associated cognitive and behavioural traits before a court in producing a detailed psychiatry report, and often by giving their spoken expert opinion. They can also use their medical opinion and advice on the healthcare of the individual involved in the case.

While still possessing great depth of knowledge, a psychology expert witness is not medically trained and though there are some cases in which the can diagnose patients, they cannot prescribe medication or suggest specific medical care for patients with a mental illness. Instead, a psychology expert witness can provide insight as to what events motivated particular behaviour for example, by retrieving information about an individual’s childhood experiences, emotional development, or trauma. You can learn more about the differences between a psychology and psychiatry expert witness here.

If you require a psychiatry expert witness for your case, get in touch with one of our dedicated case managers today.



0330 088 9000


Stay up-to-date with all the latest news in the industry by signing up to our newsletter. You're welcome to unsubscribe at any time and we'll always treat your personal details with the utmost care.