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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Expert Psychiatric Evidence

Keith Rix

Price: £40.00

Members' discount available

Published: Nov 2011

Format: Hardback

Number of pages: 320

ISBN: 9781908020321

Expert Psychiatric Evidence

A guide to what a psychiatrist needs to know in order to prepare medico-legal reports and become an expert witness.

This book covers the roles and responsibilities of the psychiatric expert witness in the context of case and statute law, administration, training and other practical matters, the medico-legal consultation and the structure and form of the expert report. Specific chapters deal with psychiatric reports in criminal, civil and family cases, as well as inquests, tribunals and other parts of the legal system. Preparation of reports for jurisdictions in the British Isles outside England and Wales is covered. Concluding chapters deal with going to court and maintaining expertise.


It will be of value to trainee psychiatrists and recently appointed consultants who need a handbook to assist them as they acquire the training, skills and knowledge necessary to prepare expert psychiatric evidence for courts and other legal forums.


  • Brings together in a single volume the requirements of all the relevant rules, guidance and professional codes of practice.
  • Uses analysis of relevant case and statute law to assist the reader in addressing legal issues with the detail required by the courts.
  • Includes sample letters, consent form, specimen criminal report, and other documents that can be adapted for the reader’s own use in medico-legal work.

This book is aimed at psychiatrists who wish to write medico-legal reports and become expert witnesses, but it will also be a useful resource for established expert psychiatric witnesses and the solicitors and barristers who instruct them.

About the author:
Dr Keith Rix is Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist at The Grange Consulting Rooms, Cleckheaton and at Cygnet Hospital Wyke, Bradford.  His forensic experience began in the 1960s when he lived in hostels with ex-offenders and assessed prisoners for after-care hostels.  He has a Master of Laws (Distinction) in Medical Law and Ethics and is a part-time lecturer in the Department of Law at De Montfort University, Leicester.  He has thirty years experience as an expert witness.


Foreword by The Rt. Hon. The Baroness Hale of Richmond, Justice of the Supreme Court

Preface and acknowledgments


  1. Nature and duties of an expert witness
  2. Training, contractual, administrative and other practical matters
  3. The medico-legal consultation
  4. The structure, organisation and content of the generic report
  5. Reports for criminal proceedings
  6. Reports in personal injury cases
  7. Reports for family proceedings relating to children
  8. Reports in cases involving capacity
  9. Reports for tribunals, inquests and other bodies
  10. Reports for the Channel Islands, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland and Scotland
  11. Going to court
  12. Maintaining and developing expertise and knowing when to stop



  1. Letter of response to request for a report
  2. File front sheet
  3. Time sheet
  4. Appointment letter
  5. Information to accompany appointment letter
  6. Letter requesting authorisation to use a laptop computer within a prison
  7. Consent form
  8. Covering letter for a court report
  9. CPS declaration and self-certificate
  10. A note on judicial titles and their abbreviations in England and Wales
  11. Model criminal report

Quote from the author:

"I have enjoyed thirty years' work as a psychiatric expert witness and I have equally enjoyed teaching and training others.  I am pleased to have been given the opportunity to use this experience to write a book on the subject before I retire."
- Keith Rix


"He has poured his wealth of experience and knowledge into this book ... I can't imagine that any psychiatrist would not find this book helpful. One of the best parts of working as an academic is learning from writing as good as this."
- Expert Witness Institute Newsletter (EWIN)

"An excellent book, it would be a foolish trainee or new consultant in psychiatry who did not possess, read and inwardly digest it. The book deserves a place in the personal library of any expert witness, however experienced he or she is can also be very helpful to any lawyer who is involved in instructing or cross-examining a psychiatric expert witness.  ...I wholeheartedly recommend it."
- The Expert & Dispute Resolver
(The Academy of Experts)

"Extremely detailed but readable, at times even amusing.  Advice is ...practical, even extending to avoiding staples and paperclips. All aspects are covered, including secretarial support, billing, marketing yourself and holidays. This book will certainly help psychiatrists, perhaps also lawyers, avoid major mistakes."
- The Advocate

"What can help encourage good quality professionals to enter into such [expert witness] work, protect them from the slings and arrows and reassure the court as to the value of the evidence? Dr Rix's book can go a long way to doing that. ...There should be a copy on the shelf of all psychiatric and mental health experts."
- Medico-Legal Journal

"This book is an invaluable resource...its uniqueness lies in its no nonsense approach and advice for those new to the field, to setting up and maintaining a respectable medico-legal practice. ...Dr Rix really has seen it all before and is able to pass on his experience with an academic expertise balanced with his down to earth and, on occasion, humourous observations of the role of the expert witness."
- Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health


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Highly Commended for the 'Basis of Medicine' category of the BMA Medical Book Awards 2012

"An excellent guide for those coming into psychiatric medico-legal work but also a first class refresher for the expert ... a well-written, well-rounded and well-produced book."
- BMA Medical Book Awards 2012 Programme and Awards winners brochure


“This is an excellent read and of value both to those starting out and those already with some experience as an expert.”

Dr Mike Ventress - Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, Fieldhead Hospital, Wakefield.


“I wish I had a book like this to help me during my initial stages of forensic training.  I am sure most of the forensic trainees would treasure a book like this; I would certainly recommend it be read by anyone who wishes to do some court work.  It answers most of the questions that I have had during my training so far and for which I have looked far and wide for answers.”

Dr Sajid Muzaffar - Specialty Registrar in Forensic Psychiatry, The Norvic Clinic, Norwich.


“This is an admirable manual for psychiatrists, indeed for all medical practitioners who choose, or (as often happens) are obliged, to do forensic work and for the lawyers who enlist them.  In short, I consider this a masterwork and wish that a guide of this depth and quality was available for all expert disciplines.  I recommend it very highly.”

James Badenoch, QC - Chairman, The Expert Witness Institute, London.


“This really is a tour de force … Real practical advice in all chapters against a background of legal and medical analysis, which is just what young practitioners need.”

His Honour Judge Simon Lawler, QC, Yorkshire.


“The judge quite rightly relied upon the evidence of Dr. Rix, a most experienced and distinguished psychiatrist, well known to this court.”

Mr Justice Henriques in R v Colin Howard Parker [2005] EWCA Crim 1916