Forensic and Criminal Law
Getting the expert, professional assessments, in the time frame you need, to support the court process
Clinical Partners have a nationwide team of Section 12 approved clinicians, many of whom have experience of compiling the reports needed to ensure fair representation in court proceedings. When the implications of the reports can be so life changing, finding the right expert clinical support is crucially important.
Our Head of medico-legal services, Caroline Scott, has years of experience in handling the complexities that forensic and criminal law cases can bring. Our team will handle all elements of the process, from arranging locations for any assessment to take place in (we have nationwide consulting rooms and can make visits to Prisons or Residential Units) to ensuring the reports are submitted in the necessary time frame, format and budget.
Forensic assessments – there are several kinds of reports that a qualified psychiatrist can compile for the Courts, to help advise on the mental health of the accused party.
The assessments are commonly used for:
- The decision to prosecute or divert
- Fitness to Plead or Fitness to Stand trial
- Establishing motivations
The decision to prosecute
It is vitally important that information regarding any possible mental health problems is made available to the prosecutors at the earliest possible opportunity. Mental health and capacity assessments are most commonly completed by Psychiatrists and will be used by the prosecutor to determine whether prosecution is in the public interest.
Fitness to Plead and Fitness to Stand Trial Assessments
If the accused has a mental disorder or if it is suspected that they might have one, the courts will use a forensic assessment to determine whether the accused has the (legal) capacity to stand trial.
The assessment will look at whether they are able to understand the court proceedings, instruct a solicitor, challenge a juror and understand the different pleas and verdicts.
The Judge will need to determine whether the defendant is fit to plead and stand trial (the capacity of the defendant to comprehend the course of the court proceedings). This decision is made using evidence from at least two registered medical practitioners, one of whom must be approved under section 12 of the Mental Health Act 1983.
A medical report can also be used to comment on whether the Court proceedings are impacting on the mental health of the accused; if it is found that there is significant worsening the Courts may take this into consideration in determining how the proceedings should take place and across what timeframe.
You may wish to establish the motivations for the crime and whether the client knew they were committing a crime in the first place and if they fully understand the situation.
Where it is thought that the defendant has, or appears to have a mental disorder, the Courts will need to obtain a medical report which they will consider before sentencing.
The forensic report may be used by the Court to help determine the sentencing decision – for instance if it is found that the person was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the crime, it may affect the sentencing.
Forensic reports can also be used to assess the degree of future risk for further offences.
If a custodial sentence is needed, the Courts will use the medical reports to determine which setting is the most appropriate for some or the entire sentence – for instance a secure hospital or HMPS.
To talk to one of our Case Managers today about how we can help you or your client please call Caroline Scott on 0203 761 7027.