Psychiatry and Civil Law

  • Jonas R. Rappeport
Part of the Critical Issues in American Psychiatry and the Law book series (CIAP, volume 2)


When one thinks of forensic psychiatry, which Seymour Pollack has defined as “the application of psychiatry to legal issues for legal ends, legal purposes,”1 the immediate image is of the insanity plea and the psychiatrist’s role with criminal law. We hear much less of psychiatric involvement with civil law. Reflecting this, there is little in the psychiatric literature about civil law issues. (I know of only three books,2,3,4 two monographs,5,6 and a few articles7 on the subject.) Because, as far as the law is concerned, all that is not criminal is essentially civil, the subject matter covers a vast area. In an oversimplified sense, criminal law maintains public order and essentially deals with crimes against the state; civil law protects individual rights and attempts to resolve disputes between individuals (or between an individual and the State).


Physical Injury Acad Psychiatry Forensic Psychiatry Disability Claim Psychiatric Impairment 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonas R. Rappeport
    • 1
  1. 1.Medical Service of the Circuit CourtBaltimoreUSA

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