Psychology and Civil Law

The role of psychologists and other mental health professionals in civil litigation is both diverse and important. This course covers a number of the areas in which psychologists consult on matters related to civil practice law forensic matters outside of the criminal arena.  This course brings psychology graduate students and law students together in a broad overview of issues related to mental health law and civil practice. The semester will be divided relatively evenly between reviewing the case law and legal standards and the clinical issues that bear upon these legal issues.  Through this course, law students will gain expertise understanding, utilizing, and responding to mental health testimony in civil litigation and psychology students will develop skills evaluating mental health issues that arise in these contexts. Specific legal issues discussed include the concept of torts and malpractice, causation, standards of proof, and expert testimony.  We will focus on several of the areas of civil law in which psychologists play a significant role, including personal injury, sexual harassment, and disability law, as well as a number of issues that arise in elderly or medically ill individuals such as informed consent and decision-making competence, involuntary treatment and the right to refuse medications, physician-assisted suicide, testamentary capacity, and psychological autopsies.  Issues such as psychological testing, report preparation and expert testimony are discussed in the context of these issues and the legal standards that apply.
Credits: 3

Type: SEM

Does this course satisfy the writing requirement? Yes