Responsibilities in Forensic Psychology Thesis

Legal Rights and Responsibilities in Forensic Psychology

The forensic field has expanded and broadened during the last fifty years or so. Since forensic psychology differs from conventional psychology, special attention has been given in developing ethical and legal rights and responsibilities. This paper summarizes the legal rights and responsibilities of a forensic psychologist in light of the guidelines developed and published by American Psychological Association.

Discussion of rights and responsibilities of forensic psychologists

Duties of a forensic psychologist


The forensic professionals should practice truthfulness and honesty in their fieldwork of forensic psychology and shouldn’t misrepresent information regardless.

Being impartial and fair

While offering professional advice and opinion, the forensic scientists should be impartial, fair and unbiased. Due to the gravity of the situation, they should remain impartial and assess all options before issuing statement.

While providing proof and reports, evidence shouldn’t be distorted or withheld from the jury in a court of law. The forensic scientists should be able to nullify all the theories pertaining to a case and validate the correct with proper documentation. The forensic scientists should remain impartial. The forensic scientists should display their findings in an accurate and impartial manner.

Preventing different perceptions

The forensic scientists should vacate their position, when their position from a legal, financial, professional basis is at risk and can cloud their judgment for that matter.

The forensic professionals should acknowledge conflicts of interests and disagreements developing to retain the public vote of confidence. In case of the conflict of interest, they should be highlighted and well documented.


Extent of competence

While determining which case to work on, the forensic professional should take heed to multiple factors first which include their training, work experience, complexity of the case, experience and nature of the job, the amount of preparation to do and study that entails. The forensic professional should take professional help from their fellow professional colleagues.

The level of competency can be acquired via different forms of training, experience, education, study, professional experience and consultation. The novice forensic professionals should take necessary training first before jumping on the bandwagon which includes techniques, areas, population and technologies. The forensic professionals should be more and more competent with the passage of time. They should have know-how of the law and legal proceedings entailing.


Providing services

The forensic professionals should have clear contracts, which should dictate the price for their services and agree on a timeframe till their services are required. The forensic professional can end the agreement, in case the client violates the agreement or acts in an unethical manner.

The forensic professionals should work ethically and responsibly in providing the agreed upon services. The forensic professionals can dictate their terms of service depending upon their professional experience and expertise in field work.


The forensic professionals need to manage their work schedule according to accommodate all of their clients. The services should be provided diligently and competitively. The forensic professional is liable to provide services within the contract. The client should respect the contract and remain within its confines.


The forensic professionals should keep their clients updated on the status of their job and remain compliant with the client’s demands and be open on the limitations that follow in their contract. Certain services are not obligatory for the forensics professional, thus they can voice it to their clients. it’s their duty to keep the clients involved and updated on recent events.

Ending the contract

The forensic professional is supposed to carry out all the obligations in the contract as long as the contract remains valid. In case, the contract is terminated, the forensic professional is no longer liable to provide services. The forensic professional’s involvement could be temporary and his contract may end when a case is solved.


The nature of the forensic professional and client depends on many factors. It depends on the information shared between them. The responsibilities and duties differ according to every case.

The responsibilities commence once the client has ordered the services of a forensic professional and a contract has been signed and agreed upon. The matters of privacy, privilege and confidentiality has been addressed too. The forensic professional should dictate the nature of the services and relationship.

The forensic professional can have multiple relationships. For instance, the forensic professional could be working with one client, but secretly having deals and monetary talks with another client. In another case, the forensic professional could be working with a different client entirely.

Thus, the forensic professionals shouldn’t involve with multiple parties simultaneously. Working with one party at a time is advised. It can tarnish their reputation.

While working with multiple clients, strengths and weaknesses become clear. Thus, it is necessary to maintain a level of secrecy from the clients of opposite parties. The forensic professional should request to hire another forensic specialist. This will keep biasness out of the scenario entirely. Negative effects must be avoided at all costs in a case.


While pondering fees, the forensic professional should take in heed the complexity of the case, their relevant field experience in forensics, time and labor needed, the toughness of the situation and fee taken from forensic record keeping. It depends on the client’s willingness too.

The forensic scientists should notify the clients about the necessary costs, while working on their case and additional costs which may arise during a case.

The forensic scientists should avoid additional payments, which could alter their opinion and judgments. The forensic scientists are aware that not all clients can afford to pay for their valuable services and thus allot some time working free of cost.

Consent, warning and assent

The forensic scientists should explain the complexities of the legal issues arising with forensic taking helm in a case. Mostly, the participants are unaware of the intricacies involved. The parameters and nature change with forensic professionals entering a case.

The forensic professionals should explain the nature of forensic work and unveil the intricacies entailing.

The forensic scientists should take in consideration the person’s background, psychological experience, mentality and corroborate it with the legal matters involved. If complications arise, consult a counselor to seek expert advice.

Interaction with the client

The forensic professionals should divulge information that can alter a decision of working with a forensic professional in a case. This information shouldn’t affect the bond / contract between the forensic professional and the client. It could lead to a conflict of interest.

Interaction with participants

The forensic professionals should inform the participants about the nature and aim of the assessment. This information entails utilization of assessment, access of information, privacy concerns and authority to make the information public.

If the participant is unwilling to take part in examination, the forensic professional can delay the experiment. The forensic professional will need to take an approval, if court bars a participant from taking part in an experiment.

If court orders a participant to continue, then forensic professional can work without participant’s approval. Otherwise the forensic professional should inform concerned parties of participant’s unwillingness. The forensic professionals need to take consent before releasing scholarly works and products from the concerned party. The interests of the client must be respected.

Disagreements while practicing

During the course of forensic practice, conflicts with demands often occur, which should be made known to the concerned party. Then, they should act on the advice of the concerned parties and relevant agencies for that matter.

Disagreement with legal institution

The forensic practitioners should make their move in accordance with the EPPCC and resolve a conflict if any arises. When EPPCC can’t solve an issue, then forensic professionals should seek legal advice from legal bodies. They should maintain compliance with the court of law and maintain ethical means of practice.

Conflict at workplace

The forensic professionals should clarify their position in case of a conflict with the organization they are linked with. They should solve the conflict in an amicable manner.

Solving ethical issues professionally

In case of an ethical violation, the forensic professionals should take quick action and take in consideration many factors and oversee the potential harm, privacy, privilege and confidentiality factors.

Thus, consultation of the colleagues must be taken. Then, clients must be entwined in the loop. If another forensic professional commits an ethical violation, then it should be brought to others attention.

In case of a plausible solution, they should seek outside help from a counsel. Usually, the client’s help is taken.

Carefulness, discretion and privilege

The forensic professionals are aware of their duty to protect private information pertaining to a client and concerned parties. Disclosure is only allowed by consent from required individuals.

Releasing information

The forensic professionals should oblige to subpoena and court orders for releasing information and legal consent from said parties. Otherwise in case of an objection, they should give a concrete reason. When complications arise, they should seek legal advice and take client’s consent too in consideration.

Access of information

When requested, the forensic professionals should be able to give a plausible explanation and access to their findings and private records under the law binding. The participants aren’t given the right to access the records of forensic scientists. The consent of the concerned party is needed first. A fee is charged for recording keeping purposes.

Accessing the third party evidence requires approval of the attorney and concerned party.

The forensic professionals should be able to protect the identity of the confidential individuals and present the information in a balanced manner. The information concerned is of importance hence.

Methodologies and procedures

Using viable methods

The forensic professionals should use methods and procedures which are legal. The forensic professionals should view a matter from all angles while conducting treatment, examinations, scholarly work and consultation. They should be able to discard all plausible theories pertaining to a case.

Using many sources for checking

The forensic professionals should form an opinion after confirming from multiple sources. They should mention otherwise the limitations and weaknesses in a theory.

Views about people

The forensic professionals can voice their opinions about the psychological features of a person only in oral and written form. They should provide the basis of their opinions too. In any case otherwise the forensic professionals can highlight absence of information.

The forensic professionals should highlight their sources of information in a case while reaching conclusions and suggestions. Otherwise, limitations must be voiced.


Concentrate on legal aspects

The forensic professionals should provide commendable evidence on issues and provide relevant information to psycho-legal issues. They should highlight information about the victim’s mental capacity, knowledge, ability, beliefs and voice their suggestions in reports. Problems do arise in clinical diagnosis, which should be tackled. They should validate their opinions suitably.

Selecting and using procedures

The forensic professionals should employ procedures and methods, which are relevant in the light of the research. This entails tests, interviews, assessment methods, scoring, adaptation, computer models and other procedures.

The forensic professionals should use methods which are valid and reliable for the said members to be examined. The forensic professionals should use language appropriate for the participant.

The forensic assessments vary from the therapeutic assessments during forensic investigations. The forensic professionals need to select the conventional methods and check their viability. They should verify the viability and safety of the materials and results.

The forensic factors are a bit different too and examination results can be influenced by it. For instance, the participant’s willingness, response time and stress caused by the situation can have an effect.

Opinions and contradictions

The forensic professionals should keep an open mind and recognize their own limitations and strengths in a particular case. The assessment process can be influenced by the condition of the victim. It should be mentioned during results and observations. The forensic professionals should maintain an air of comfortably, safety and privacy.

Assessing the feedback

The forensic professionals should explain the results to the participant in layman words. In case, the communication isn’t possible, then it should be explained beforehand. They should voice information which is consistent with the legal proceedings and uploading the law. The result must be conclusive.

Documentation and Compilation of Data Considered

The forensic professionals should record and document all the data with respect to a case and allow transparency in court and produce it in front of concerned parties. This includes, test data, evaluation and reports needed in a case. While a third party oversees the evidence, the forensic practitioners should take notice of the law binding such matters.

Proper documentation

The forensic professionals should be able to make all the necessary documents available. This may include subpoena, court orders and consent from the concerned parties.

Safe keeping records

The forensic professionals must adhere to a professional way of record keeping and maintain relevant communication protocol. It varies according to the case, its risks, complications and legal bindings which binds the forensic professional to strive to safe keep evidence.

The concerned parties should know the limits of recordkeeping and its safety. They need to safeguard it, until all the appeals have been dealt with.

Professional communication and other communications

Partiality, precision and avoiding deceit

The professional forensics ensures that their public statements, services, reports and professional opinions aren’t deceptive, but completely transparent. Understanding is encouraged. While standing in trials and courts, their job is to provide exemplary understanding of the case and evidence regarding it.

The forensic professionals can’t distort and withhold key information regarding a case. They must be prepared and ready with all the data regarding a case. It must admissible in court of law in accordance with professional standards.

While providing forensic evidence and sworn statements, the forensic scientists can’t lie and misrepresent information in a court of law. Their position in a case is neutral by all means and their opinion should remain unbiased.

11.02 Discerning deductions, opinions and deductions

During the trial, the forensic professionals should give an honest opinion about their findings and corroborate it with legal issues at hand.

Revealing sources and opinions

The forensic professionals should reveal all their information sources and resources during a trial. Thus, transparency is encouraged for the findings to be admissible.

Accurate reports, opinions and testimony

While working with the law, the forensic professionals should give sworn statements and testimony and provide with a brief analysis of all their opinions during their work. The data should be highlighted by which the opinions were formed. Additional data can also be useful. The forensic professionals should divulge key findings, which are irrelevant to a discussion or a case.

Opinion about professionals and people in legal issues

While assessing and examining work of professionals, a general air of respect must be present among the professionals. The contradictions must be addressed respectfully. Keep a fair mind. The judgments must be given in a fair and unbiased way.

Outside court statements

The forensic professionals should avoid making public statements. Seldom, educating the masses is necessary. While issuing public statements, the forensic professionals shouldn’t divulge private data and distort their statements for that matter.

Opinion on legal matters

The forensic professionals should examine the legal matters while publishing their findings. It is a part of public record. Permission should be taken while publishing such findings from the concerned parties. The forensic professionals shouldn’t voice their opinions on matters, they are unaware of. However, they can voice opinions on matters, they are sure of are within their grasp.


It is clear from the aforementioned facts that the forensic field has grown and developed in the preceding 5 decades. Since forensic psychology differs from conventional psychology, special focus in the past many years was given to the legal rights and responsibilities of a forensic psychologist. This paper summarized those very legal rights and responsibilities given the guidelines and processes developed and published by American Psychological Association.


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