How to structure a Psychology Medico Legal report

The structure of your report should lend itself to the potential recipients and forums in which it is likely to be read / used.  The points below are based on the thousands of reports we have seen over the years and also feedback we have received from various different parties:

  • The structure of the report needs to be clear, logical and appropriate to the reader(s). Please keep in mind that this could include other professionals as well as witnesses, jurors etc.
  • A psychology medico legal report should start with a cover page that includes details of the action/case, any solicitor or court reference numbers, the version of the report e.g. draft 1 or Final, the date of the report, details of the claimant/defendant & instructing party(ies) and finally, your name, title, contact details and any reference.
  • The medico legal report should start with a brief description of the subject matter.
  • The report should then follow in chronological order.
  • This principle should also apply to the way the content of the medico legal report is presented i.e. background, analysis, conclusion & recommendations. This will help the reader(s) to understand the evidence and how the Psychology Expert Witness came to their conclusions.
  • To ensure the report is as clear as possible it is best to try and stick to one topic per paragraph, this will help avoid jumping from one point to another without concluding the topic and it will also help the reader(s) digest the contents of the report.
  • As with any medico legal report, and to comply with the Civil & Family Procedure rules, the source of any content must be clearly identified. This should include content based on knowledge as well as from information or belief. The source of any information or belief should be given and where appropriate listed in the appendicies.

NB – Every psychology medico legal report must comply with the relevant procedure rules, whether it be for the Civil, Criminal or Family Courts. There are also specific declarations that must be included such as a “Statement of Compliance”, “Statement of Truth” etc. CLICK HERE to refer to the Ministry of Justice Procedure rules.

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