Teaching Psychiatric Residents about Legal Issues

  • Seymour L. Halleck
Part of the Critical Issues in Psychiatry book series (CIPS)


With all the new demands made by recent legal changes and with all the new interest in legal aspects of psychiatry, teaching about law in the practice of psychiatry remains surprisingly antiquated. Very few psychiatric residency training programs have expanded or changed their basic educational format in this area in the past decade. The majority of programs still continue to give a brief course on forensic psychiatry in the last year of training. Usually the content focuses on expert witness roles. The resident learns about issues involving malpractice and the treatment of severely disturbed patients largely through on-the-job training. Even departments of psychiatry with skilled forensic psychiatrists on their faculties do not provide residents with a great deal of teaching about legal issues. The forensic psychiatrist may be more involved in teaching courses on mental health law or other issues in the law school than in teaching about similar issues to residents. The law school course is usually too complicated or time-consuming to attract the interest of the psychiatric resident.


Legal Issue Legal Aspect Expert Witness Psychiatric Resident Forensic Psychiatry 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seymour L. Halleck
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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