Ethics in Forensic Psychology


Because the practice of forensic psychology is different from traditional clinical work, special guidelines were developed to ensure a high level of quality in our practice. For example, zealous advocacy and persuasive arguments are appropriate for the attorney, but would not be ethical or proper for a forensic expert witness. A forensic expert must remain unbiased and disinterested in the outcome of any legal proceeding. The expert of course is interested in the data, findings and formulations that support his opinion. The conclusions will be vigorously defended in reports, depositions and court testimony. 

1.02 Impartiality and Fairness

When offering expert opinion to be relied upon by a decision maker, providing forensic therapeutic services, or teaching or conducting research, forensic practitioners strive for accuracy, impartiality, fairness, and independence. Forensic practitioners recognize the adversarial nature of the legal system and strive to treat all participants and weigh all data, opinions, and rival hypotheses impartially.  When conducting forensic examinations, forensic practitioners strive to be unbiased and impartial, and avoid partisan presentation of unrepresentative, incomplete, or inaccurate evidence that might mislead finders of fact. This guideline does not preclude forceful presentation of the data and reasoning upon which a conclusion or professional product is based. When providing educational services, forensic practitioners seek to represent alternative perspectives, including data, studies, or evidence on both sides of the question, in an accurate, fair and professional manner, and strive to weigh and present all views, facts, or opinions impartially.

If you would like to know more about the ethical standards guiding my professional practice, please click on the link below.

Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists