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Title: Legal professionals' use and understanding of psychological expert evidence within child care proceedings
Author: Blincoe, Claire
ISNI:       0000 0004 8498 5424
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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Clinical psychology and family law overlap when psychologists are instructed to provide expert opinion to aid legal decision making. Little is known about the influence of expert evidence on legal decision making processes. Decision making literature spans the social sciences and is vast and fragmented. This study aimed to gain insight into how psychological evidence in child care proceedings is used, understood and interpreted by legal professionals. This topic was addressed in the context of recent procedural changes in the instruction of experts, and to inform a growing body of literature aimed at integrating legal and psychological understandings of decision making. Interview data from thirteen legal professionals was analysed using Thematic Analysis. Four themes were identified; 'communication', 'responsibility', 'similarities and differences in identifying important information' and 'complications in weighing up the psychological evidence'. Results indicated psychological evidence informs judgements about the potential hope for children to be placed with their parents. There were indications that psychological evidence was considered necessary to inform good quality decision making, particularly in the area of cognitive assessment. Psychological information that was considered uncertain and open to interpretation was potentially vulnerable to intuitive biases in judgement. Clinical implications for psychological report writing and potential benefit of specialist training for both professional groups are highlighted.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available