Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Moira C. DuxEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_827




Competency is a legal determination to be made by a legal professional (i.e., judge). It relates to a person’s capacity (a clinical status as judged by a health-care professional) to make determinations/decisions or to perform certain functions. In a legal context, competency typically relates to one’s understanding of issues related to involvement in a legal proceeding (Reisner and Slobogin 1990). Such an understanding necessitates some degree of acknowledgment regarding the nature of the procedure, the risks involved, success estimates, possible alternative options/approaches, and the pros and cons of specific courses of action. Issues related to competency can be raised at any time during the criminal judicial process. Specific competencies in the criminal realm include competence to confess (or waive rights at pretrial investigations), competency to plead guilty, competency to waive right to counsel, competency to stand trial, competency to be...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Readings

  1. Denney, R. L. (2005). Criminal forensic neuropsychology and assessment of competency. In G. Larrabee (Ed.), Forensic neuropsychology: A scientific approach. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Dusky v. United States, 362 U.S. 402 (1960).Google Scholar
  3. Grisso, T. (1988). Competency to stand trial evaluations: A manual for practice. Sarasota: Professional Resource Exchange.Google Scholar
  4. Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry. (1974). Misuse of psychiatry in the criminal courts: Competency to stand trial. New York: Committee on Psychiatry and Law.Google Scholar
  5. Marson, D. C., & Hebert, K. (2005). Assessing civil competencies in older adults with dementia: Consent capacity, financial capacity, and testamentary capacity. In G. Larrabee (Ed.), Forensic neuropsychology: A scientific approach. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Reisner, R., & Slobogin, B. (1990). Law and the mental health system (2nd ed.). St. Paul: West.Google Scholar
  7. Wieter v. Settle (1961). 193 F. Supp. 318 (W.D. Mo., 1961).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.US Department of Veteran AffairsBaltimoreUSA