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Forensic Psychiatry - An Interface Between Law and Psychiatry

A sub-specialty of psychiatry is Forensic Psychiatry.
Forensic Psychiatry is concerned with the interface between law and psychiatry.
The subject deals with the scenario of crimes and whether the defendant possesses the mental capacity to understand the charges on him to assist the lawyer dealing with his case.
Forensic psychiatric experts are individuals that have studied Forensic Psychiatry as a subject and possess expertise in evaluating an individual's capacity to undergo a trial.
Forensic psychiatric experts provide defenses for the trial.
The defenses they provide include mental instabilities and diseases on which they base sentencing recommendations.
Forensic psychology understands that a defendant should be convicted justly keeping in mind his psychological condition.
Forensic psychiatric experts are called to be expert witnesses in case of criminal, as well as civil cases.
They study each case to the minutest of details and prepare elaborate reports on the case before testifying in any proceeding of the court.
Courts use forensic psychiatric experts for independent opinions so as to enable the court to come to a verdict after thorough perusal of the case keeping in view all the information available.
This is often the case where the matters in question are not ordinarily understood by the judge/jury, highlighting the need for expert advice.
In testifying their opinion, forensic psychiatric experts explain the basis of their opinion using different approaches/methods used in psychiatry.
For instance, the M'Naghten Rules; according to this rule the defendant is excused by virtue of a disease of the mind or defect of reason which leaves the defendant incapable of understanding the nature and quality of his act, or, even if he does understand the nature and quality of the act, he does not know that it is wrong.
Such standards and others as studied in Forensic psychology are used to evaluate the individual and his capacity to undertake the criminal activity he is convicted for.
The opinion given by the experts provides the court with a basis to evaluate whether the defendant was in the state of mind to understand what he was doing during the time of the crime.
The courts keep in mind such details of the case before pronouncing the final verdict.
"Not guilty by reason of insanity" is a potential outcome of such trials.
Forensic psychiatric experts are also involved in the care of prisoners and also those that are mentally ill and have committed criminal acts.
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