Fitness to Plead (inc Youth)
Fitness to plead is concerned with whether or not an accused is able to stand trial and, if not, the procedure that should be used to deal with the accused. In 2016 the Law Commission proposed that the test should centre upon the defendant’s decision-making capacity (Mental Health Act 2005) and capacity for effective participation in their trial. The more recent registration has recognised the that a wider range of professionals are suited to the role of assessment in these cases. The skill set of a forensic psychologist is thought to be especially useful within this domain. Consequently, the Law Commission has stipulated that one of the experts must be a registered medical practitioner duly approved under section 12 of the Mental Health Act the second expert can be a registered psychologist.
A psychological assessment will usually include a detailed evaluation of the defendants cognitive functioning, verbal reasoning and comprehension skills. In addition to memory, attention and concentration as well as suggestibility. Following this you will receive a robust expert report commenting on whether your client is deemed fit to plead and/or stand trial. Most importantly a number of detailed, individually tailored recommendations for the court will be included in the report. It is our belief that all individuals should have the right to a fair trial and a departure from a full trial should always be a last resort when in the best interests of the defendant.
For more information upon how to obtain an Expert Witness Report on Fitness to Plead from our Forensic Psychologists contact Formedecon