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Unit Summary

Unit type

UG Coursework Unit

Credit points

12

AQF level

7

Level of learning

Advanced

Former School/College

Former School of Law and Justice

Pre-requisites

have completed unit/s: [[LAW000111] Legal Process] OR equivalent

Unit aim

Addresses fundamental issues where the practice of the mental health profession intersects with the criminal, civil and coronial law of Australia. Students explore the mental health-law interface within the context of the adversary system as it functions currently within Australian courts. The role of experts in the contemporary legal system and how the courts have grappled with the evolving contribution made by forensic psychiatrists and psychologists is evaluated as well as major controversies surrounding criteria for the detention of the mentally ill, particularly examining the jurisprudence of civil commitment as it has evolved.

Unit content

1.Historical overview of forensic psychiatry and psychology; 
2.Analysis of expert witness immunity and the regulation of mental health professionals; 
3.An introduction to DSM-IV and ICD-10; 
4.Reflection on the limits of mental health evidence by reference to the A-G v Fairfax decision; 
5.Psychiatry and psychology in the investigation of crime: 
6.Criminal profiling; 
7.Interviews; 
8.Eyewitness assessment. 
9.Fitness to stand trial 
10.The psychiatrist and psychologist as expert witnesses The exclusionary rules of expert evidence; Syndrome evidence Criminal profiling evidence Expert evidence about dangerousness 
11.Psychiatric injury under civil law and crimes compensation law 
12.The jurisprudence of civil commitment

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

GA1: , GA2: , GA3: , GA4: , GA5: , GA6: , GA7:
On completion of this unit, students should be able to: GA1 GA2 GA3 GA4 GA5 GA6 GA7
1 Analyse the accountability of psychiatrists and psychologists in their forensic role;
2 Demonstrate an understanding of the role able to be played by psychiatry and psychology in the investigative phases of the criminal justice system;
3 Describe and assess the relevant rules of expert evidence and apply them to evidence given by psychiatrists and psychologists;
4 Critically analyse the extent, consistency and adequacy of the legal system's appreciation of psychiatric and psychological knowledge in the contexts of the criminal and civil law;

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Analyse the accountability of psychiatrists and psychologists in their forensic role;
    • GA1:
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the role able to be played by psychiatry and psychology in the investigative phases of the criminal justice system;
    • GA4:
  3. Describe and assess the relevant rules of expert evidence and apply them to evidence given by psychiatrists and psychologists;
    • GA4:
  4. Critically analyse the extent, consistency and adequacy of the legal system's appreciation of psychiatric and psychological knowledge in the contexts of the criminal and civil law;
    • GA2: