A number of specialist assessments can be undertaken by Dr King for both legal and court purposes:

  • Criminal / Forensic cases including Risk Assessments, Fitness to Plead, Criminal Responsibility
  • Care proceedings including child protection issues, and parenting assessments
  • Personal injury including PTSD, victims of crime assessments
  • Neuropsychological
  • Work related stress
  • Chronic pain
  • Mental capacity

What does the assessment investigate?

This clearly depends upon the terms of reference of the instructions given, however as a guide the following areas are covered.  All of these will include reliability and validity checks of the information presented with testing for malingering.

Criminal / Forensic Cases:

Dr King can provide a psychological opinion on clients in the Criminal Justice system.  This opinion can be presented at different stages within the criminal process:

  • Pre-Trial
    Assessment can be made as to the competence of either the accused or a witness. Some people may not understand why they have been charged with a crime, or the court process they are about to undergo.  These individuals may have issues of mental health or learning difficulties.
  • During Trial
    Assessment of the motivations behind a possible offence offering a formulation of how personality, functioning, drives and motivations contributed to the offence along with external factors.
    Mental health status at the time of the offence.
    Psychological consequences of the offence.
    Assessment of how vulnerable the accused is to others.
    Assessment of how suggestible the accused is to other co-defendants and to interrogation pressure and leading questions.
    Mental health status at the time of trial.
    Assessment of competency to stand trial.
  • Pre-Sentencing
    Assessment of risk.
    Assessment of rehabilitation / treatment options with recommendations for sentencing and conditions of sentencing e.g. therapy requirements.
    Assessment of risk of recidivism.
  • Care Proceedings including child protection issues and parenting assessments
    Assessment of the level of risk a parent may pose to a child.  This may be in terms of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect but could involve issues of custody between parents.  This would include the parents psychological ability to offer care in terms of both cognitive abilities, personlity and current level of knowledge.

Personal Injury

Physical or emotional trauma can leave an individual with psychological difficulties.  This can be seen for example in individuals who have been involved in road traffic accidents, or victims of crime.  Post incident and individual's whole way of life may change.

Dr King will assess:

  • Post incident mental state
  • Symptom assessment looking at current symptoms and pre-accident symptoms
  • General pre-incident history
  • Treatement recommendations
  • Short and long term prognosis

With personal injury assessments for children the main caregivers are also interviewed in depth.

Neuropsychological

This is undertaken when any kind of change in functioning is detected.  It may often be a part of forensic assessments for the Criminal Justice system and many personal injury assessments.

  • Work related stress
    This may link in with Personal Injury assessment
    Information is sought on a pre-index period (the trigger incident, event, onset of problems)
    Elicits explicit work difficulties
    Elicits current coping capacities
    Post-index period adjustment (after problems have ceased)
    Recommendations for treatment and adjustments to working environment if necessary.
  • Chronic pain
    Pre-injury / onset period
    History of pain
    Post-injury - onset coping strategies
    Pain management recommendations

Instructing Dr King

Dr King acts as an independent impartial advisor and does not directly represent the interests of those from whom the instruction will be required and that should include the following:

  • Parties involved in the case and their legal representation
  • Summary of the case and current status of the case
  • The terms of reference (aims and objectives of the instruction)
  • Specific questions that the court wish to be answered.
  • Names of key legal representatives to contact to request permission to contact other parties involved in the case
  • Who the report is being funded by.  If this is the Legal Aid Agency a copy of this letter should also be included.
  • Information on the person who is being assessed.  This should go back as far as possible.  Information on pertinent information to specific cases can be discussed with Dr King.  In a personal injury case, statements of the injured individual, witnesses and medical records will be important along with any other health proffesional reports and incident site photos.  In a Care Proceedings case, Social Worker, Guardian, and court welfare officer reports will be necessary.  Information on prior service involvement and any relevant reports (particularly from psychiatrists / psychologists), a timeline of events with a Genogram.  Caregiver statements, statements of agreed facts, parenting assessment, medical records.  In a Criminal case, probation pre-sentence reports, witness statements, inmate medical records, previous service involvement, previous convictions / cautions and witness statements.  If further information is needed during the assessment Dr King will contact you.
  • Requested timeframe for delivery of report.

The Written Report

A specialist legal report will be forwarded to whomever instructed Dr King within the requested timeframe.  The content will be in line with the original terms of reference and the specific questions asked.

Recommendations for further physical assessment or therapy may be made following the assessment.  If therapy is recommended this cannot be undertaken by Dr King due to a conflict of interest with the legal assessment system.

  • Summary of the case and current status of the case