Forensic psychiatry is focuses on the intersection of law and mental health. A forensic psychiatrist may be needed to provide a psychiatric consultation for any of a broad range of legal situation.
While a psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has completed several years of additional training in the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders, a forensic psychiatrist has also undergone additional training in regard to how mental health and the law intersect.
Members of the legal profession often seek consultation from experts in various fields when dealing with issues that lie outside the area of the general public’s expertise. A forensic psychiatrist can help a judge or jury understand any ramifications a mental health condition could have on a case.
Forensic psychiatrists usually work closely with attorneys, courts, or other parties (including perpetrators and victims) who are involved in actual or potential litigation and may be going to court in a civil or criminal matter. The primary task of a forensic psychologist is to provide clinical evaluations, which may be followed by expert testimony in the courtroom.