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Planning, writing, and editing forensic psychiatric reports

Phillip J. Resnick & Sherif Soliman.

International Journal of Law and Psychiatry

Volume 35, Issues 5–6, September–December 2012, Pages 412–417



Forensic psychiatric reports are often the final product of a psychiatrist's work in a particular case because most cases do not go to trial but instead are settled through negotiation or plea bargaining. This article addresses the planning, writing, and editing of forensic reports. Planning a report requires thorough data gathering, and thoughtful organization of the report into specific subheadings. Throughout the report there should be a clear separation of factual data from professional opinions. Ten pitfalls of report writing are identified. The most important part of the forensic report is the opinion section. The evidence for the opinion should begin with the strongest points and the reasons supporting the opinion should be completely explained. Finally, ethical issues are addressed.



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