Hypothetical Legal Questions and the Psychiatric Expert

  • Roberto MesterEmail author
  • Oren Asman
Reference work entry


The verbal interactions between the psychiatric expert and the other participants in court cases often center round hypothetical questions. This type of question aims:
  • To challenge the position presented by the psychiatrist in his/her medicolegal report or his/her verbal deposition

  • To clarify for the judge/s (the decision makers) the expert witness’ concepts and conclusions as they appear in his/her medicolegal report and verbal depositions

The intention of this chapter is to foster the understanding of the meaning and uses of hypothetical questions in court and in this way to assist the psychiatrist expert to react in rationally and effectively when confronted with this type of questions.

To facilitate the comprehension of the chapter, clinical examples and pertinent quotations from relevant literature are analyzed.


Anxiety Disorder Medical Report Expert Witness Hypothetical Question Labor Court 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    John H. Wigmore. A treatise on the Anglo-American system of evidence in trials at common law, Sec. 686. 2nd ed. Boston: Little Brown & Co.; 1923.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lehman. West’s encyclopedia of American law. 2nd ed. Thomson Gale; 2008.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bryan A. Garner. Black’s law dictionary. 9th ed. West; 2009.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Appelbaum PS, Gutheil TG. Clinical handbook of psychiatry and the law. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins; 2007.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Harney DM. Medical malpractice. 3rd ed. Charlottesville: The Michie Company; 1993.Google Scholar

Further Readings

  1. Candilis PJ, Weinstock R, Martinez R. Forensic ethics and the expert witness. New York: Springer; 2007.Google Scholar
  2. Gutheil TG, Simon RI. Mastering forensic psychiatric practice: advances strategies for the expert witness. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2002.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sackler School of MedicineTel– Aviv UniversityTel– AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Mental Health, Law and Ethics, International Center for Health, Law and EthicsHaifa UniversityHaifaIsrael
  3. 3.Ness–Ziona Mental Health CenterMinistry of HealthNess–ZionaIsrael
  4. 4.Israeli Society for Forensic PsychiatryJerusalemIsrael
  5. 5.Zefat Bioethics ForumZefat Academic CollegeZefatIsrael

Personalised recommendations