Forensic Psychiatric Examination

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Forensic Psychiatric Examination


the psychiatric examination of individuals whose mental competence is in doubt.

A forensic psychiatric examination is performed at the request of bodies of investigation or the court. In the USSR the procedure for requesting and conducting such an examination and evaluating the results is specified by articles in the criminal and civil codes and the codes of criminal and civil procedure. The psychiatrists are guided in their examination by regulations established by bodies of public health. Forensic psychiatric examinations may be given to defendants, witnesses, parties in a civil proceeding, injured parties in a criminal proceeding, and convicted persons (at the direction of prison authorities).

The forensic psychiatric examination deals with questions of imputability and nonimputability. The experts decide which of the medical measures specified by law should apply to defendants deemed irresponsible and which should apply to individuals (both defendants and already convicted persons) who develop a mental illness after committing a crime. The main purpose of examining witnesses and injured parties is to determine whether or not they are capable of fully understanding circumstances that bear on the case and of giving correct testimony. A forensic psychiatric examination is ordered in a civil proceeding to establish the transactional capacity of a plaintiff or defendant. In a forensic psychiatric examination of a convicted person who becomes ill while serving his sentence, the experts’ task is to determine the nature, severity, and curability of the mental illness; the information is used to determine whether or not the convicted person can continue to serve his sentence.

The results of a forensic psychiatric examination are presented in the form of a written conclusion that is prepared in accordance with instructions issued by the Ministry for Public Health of the USSR. According to the law, the conclusion drawn up after a forensic psychiatric examination, like all other kinds of forensic examinations, is used as evidence. It does not, however, have binding force on bodies of investigation and the court. If these bodies disagree with the conclusion, they must justify their opinion.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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