Forensic and Medico-legal Assessments
Forensic and Medico-legal Assessments are required when medical / psychological knowledge is sought to answer legal questions. Assessments of clients are usually on request of an attorney or third party to ensure that all legal elements of issues are considered. Assessments and reports are frequently included as expert evidence in a range of cases. Medico-legal assessments are an intersection between psychology and the justice system. It involves understanding aspects of law in order to be able to provide important information to judges, attorneys and other legal professionals.
The practice specialises in neuropsychological assessment of cognitive, emotional and behavioural consequences of acquired brain injury in adults and in children following motor vehicle as well as pedestrian road traffic accidents, personal injury, occupational injury and medical negligence cases.
Neuropsychological evaluations are useful in medico-legal cases where attorneys need valid and reliable information about a client’s cognitive, executive and emotional functioning for purposes of third party claims or the appointment of a Curator ad-litem.
A Care & Contact (Custody & Access) assessment typically involves the following:
- Psycho-diagnostic assessment of the child/children.
- Psychological profiling of the parents/caregivers.
- Parenting Capacity assessment of the parents/caregivers.
- Home visits.
- Consultations with collateral sources.
- Provision of a comprehensive report that can assist the court to make these important decisions.
- Courtroom testimony if needed.
- Clinical Neuropsychological Assessment
Experts in clinical neuropsychology assess whether a head injury or other forms of serious injury have resulted in psychological deficits severeenough to support a civil court claim. In many cases, traumatic brain injury (TBI) may result following serious motor vehicle accidents (MVA).
Legal damage claims might also be sought after physical assault, for instance, or injury through negligence. For further information on the complex field of clinical neuropsychology, you can visit SACNA’s website by clicking on the following link: www.sacna.co.za.
- Work Capacity
Mental illness can seriously affect workplace adjustment. This may be reflected in loss of productivity; loss of efficiency; absenteeism and interpersonal conflict. Psychiatric illnesses are increasingly being recognized as an important cause of work impairment. Psychological adjustment to chronic illness may also pose a serious problem for work capacity
- A comprehensive assessment to determine the extent that the health impairment (physical and/or mental) significantly affects the employee’s activities of daily living, social functioning, concentration, motivation, efficiency and accuracy, as well as their overall work capacity is carried out.
- Personal Injury
- Family and Child Law
Medico-legal evaluation may be necessary where young children or adolescents have been physically, sexually or emotionally abused. In these cases the young person, the victim, as well as the perpetrator/s of the abuse, are assessed by psychologists. Expert testimony and evidence is provided to the court, which, together with other information, is used to decide on the necessary treatment, management and legal consequences of each specific case.
- I also provide psychological profiling of underage legal offenders – regarding theft, violence, murder or drug-related offences, for example. The information psychologists provide as expert witnesses assists the court in both their legal proceedings, and in making rehabilitation related decisions in the young person’s best interests, while also taking the needs of society into consideration.
- Criminal Law
- Assessment of Mental Capacity