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I have undertaken Expert Witness work since 1992. I have carried out psychological assessments for the Courts in a range of settings, including: clinics, clients’ homes, Solicitors’ offices, Family Centres, secure units, prisons and Young Offenders’ Institutions. I have appeared and given oral evidence in: Youth Courts, Family Courts, Magistrate’s Courts, Crown Courts, Discretionary Lifer Panels, a Sheriff’s Court, and an Employment Tribunal.


Assessments for criminal proceedings have included: investigating the possible effects of developmental, intellectual or mental health needs on alleged offending; analysis of Police interviews (fitness to be interviewed, interrogative suggestibility); and assessing a client’s understanding of the legal process and Court proceedings (fitness to plead).

Assessments for family proceedings and care proceedings have included: assessing the psychological needs of children involved in proceedings; assessing parents’ understanding of children’s needs; and assessing parents’ understanding of Social Services’ assessment procedures, and advising on appropriate adjustments for their intellectual functioning or communication needs.

During 2009, I worked with Solicitors from Peterborough, Lincoln, Nottingham, Leeds, Worthing, and Glasgow.

Process of Engagement

I am contacted by Solicitors and Barristers enquiring about the possibility of a psychological assessment. Initial enquiries may be by letter, telephone or email. If I am contacted directly by individuals involved in legal proceedings or their relatives, I advise them to ask their Solicitor to contact me. If the psychological issues are within my areas of competence, and I can carry out the required work within the timescale set by the Court, I prepare a formal estimate of the work needed and associated costs. The estimate may include time spent listening to interview tapes, reading legal and medical documents, interviewing, conducting tests, and preparing a formal report. I enclose a copy of my CV and my standard terms and conditions with each estimate.


Assessment and Reporting

Once the Solicitor has confirmed that prior authority has been granted, I can arrange appointments to see the client and other relevant people. I usually ask the Solicitor to obtain a copy of the client’s medical notes. A variety of clinical assessment procedures may be used, including questionnaires, tests and interviews, depending on the legal questions being asked. A formal report is prepared for the instructing Solicitor. I have completed training courses in the preparation of Court reports. I send an invoice with the completed report.

 

Giving Evidence In Court

I have completed training courses in presenting evidence in Court under cross-examination. I submit an estimate for Court stand-by as part of my response to an enquiry from a Solicitor.


Standards for Legal Work


a) the psychological issues are relevant to my expertise:


I should tell you that there was much discussion as to which expert should be instructed in this matter but it was felt that with your particular expertise you would be the best person.”

Solicitor for parent with Asperger syndrome in civil dispute, December 2007


b) I am given resources to undertake a comprehensive assessment:


I must thank you for your input as you have been superb. If I ever need expertise in this area again I will contact you without hesitation. You have been the best expert I have worked with to date”  

Solicitor for young man with ASD and Learning Disabilities, November 2006


c) I am able to express an opinion that is independent of those instructing me:


Thanks Peter. I thought that might be your conclusion but we felt that with such a serious charge, we had to explore all avenues.”

Barrister for man with Learning Disabilities, January 2007


d) the psychological evidence assists in the efficient and fair administration of justice:


I write with excellent news. Having considered your report, the Crown Prosecution Service has indicated that the case against [name] will be discontinued … Once again, I thank you for your sterling work.”

Solicitor for young man with Learning Disabilities, July 2008


Without your report, [name] would have gone to prison for 18 months, even the judge said prison would kill him. I think the world is a better place with him in it.”

Parent of young man with Asperger syndrome and specific learning disorders, May 2005


Fees


I charge £100.00 - £125.00 per hour for legal work, depending on the complexity of the issues and the seriousness of any charges.


I am able to travel to undertake legal assessments, and submit estimates of likely additional costs such as travel and accommodation.


I only undertake legal work where prior authority has been granted.


I charge £500.00 per day for Court attendance, plus allowable expenses.

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Expert Witness Services Lincoln, Lincolnshire - Spectrum Psychology