This unit provides students with the knowledge and skills required for effective, evidence based practice of psychiatry in forensic settings. Students will be able to assess and employ appropriate risk assessment, develop skills in providing expert testimony and written court reports, and contribute to evidence based decision making. The unit covers both civil and criminal justice systems, and the ethical issues of the practice of psychiatry within a legal framework. Each topic is investigated from the perspective of psychiatric practice, and also from the legal perspective, developing understanding of the complex and sometimes competing systems in which forensic psychiatrists practice.


Teaching periods
Start and end dates
Last self-enrolment date
Census date
Last withdraw without fail date
Results released date

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

  • Apply knowledge and skills of the forensic psychiatrist as expert witness
  • Effectively assist courts and tribunals and decision making bodies in dealing with matters where psychiatry is relevant
  • Examine the theoretical and historic basis of medico-legal constructs encountered in forensic psychiatry
  • Apply the evidence base to enhance effective and ethical practice of psychiatry in forensic settings

Teaching methods


Type Hours per week Number of weeks Total (number of hours)
Face to Face Contact (Phasing out)
1.00 16 weeks 16
Specified Learning Activities (Phasing out)
4.00 12 weeks 48
Unspecified Learning Activities (Phasing out)
Independent Learning
7.00 12 weeks 84


Type Task Weighting ULO's
AssignmentIndividual 25% 1,2,4 
ExaminationIndividual 40% 1,3,4 
Literature ReviewIndividual 35% 3,4 


  • Introduction to forensic psychiatric practice
  • Risk Assessment and Management in forensic settings
  • Criminal procedures
  • Civil procedures
  • Roles and responsibilities of the expert witness
  • Writing a court report
  • The management of sexual offending as a medico-legal issue

Study resources

Reading materials

A list of reading materials and/or required textbooks will be available in the Unit Outline on Canvas.