Psychiatric diagnosis in legal settings

Alfred Allan

Abstract


When asked to give a diagnosis in legal settings practitioners should be mindful of the tentative nature of psychiatric diag- noses and that courts require that such a diagnosis must have scientific credibility. South African courts are not explicit about the test they will apply to determine whether a diagno- sis is scientifically credible, but some guidance can be found in United States case law. This paper examines these criteria with reference to the disorders included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR).

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v11i2.100

Submitted: 07 August 2008
Published: 01 December 2005




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South African Journal of Psychiatry    |    ISSN: 1608-9685 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2078-6786 (ONLINE)