The psychology of experts in disability courts: what it is and areas of action

Within the various jurisdictions where forensic psychology can act, that of disability is one of the main.

Then we will find out how expert actions are carried out in these courts, what is the purpose and what are the main variables to be taken into account in these cases to always act with the maximum possible professionalism.

    What is Expert Psychology in Disability Courts?

    Expert psychology in disability courts is one of the scenarios in which forensic psychology can thrive. In that case, the action of an expert psychologist will aim to assess to what extent a person is able to actBecause if this capacity were seriously impaired, a judge could consider the need to withdraw the legal capacity, which would fall to a guardian, also assigned by the judge.

    The ability to act can be broken down into four more, which make it up. First, the self-government of the person on himself. Also to the capacity to understand, that is to say that of intellectual break. The third refers to the desire to perform actions, also known as voluntary capacity. The last of these would be the capacity for discernment or judgment.

    The mission of the expert in psychology in invalidity courts is that of study whether the subject has modified any or all of the abilities we have listed, and to what extent. This will be the bulk of the work that will be reflected in the subsequent report that you will have to present to the judge who will request it. But this is not the only task. He must also carry out a psychological evaluation of the various candidates for the guardianship of the person who is to be incapacitated.

    What does a disability process look like?

    These processes can be initiated in several ways. First, it can be the same person who requests that the incapacity be declaredBe aware of the gradual deterioration in your ability to act. But it can also be your partner, your ascendants, your descendants or your siblings. But it is also possible that other persons or authorities bring the matter to the attention of the prosecution, so that it can act ex officio, if it deems it appropriate.

    The disability claim will go to the corresponding court, which may be a specific disability, if it is in the province in question, or to the court of first instance. This is where the work of psychology experts in disability courts begins, as the judge will need the help of the psychologist to assess the issues we have seen above.

    Of course, the person subject to the hypothetical declaration of incapacity has all the procedural guarantees, starting with the right to appear before the judge and to be represented by a lawyer if he so wishes. The judicial process will begin, in effect, with the judge’s personal exploration of that person. The forensic team will then prepare its expert report.

    Finally, all relatives or other people likely to opt for legal representation of the party concerned will be interviewed. They may have volunteered, have been appointed by the same person while waiting for the disability, or even have been summoned by the same court.

    Once all the parts have been explored and as long as the judge finally has the forensic reports, including what specialist psychology provides in disability courts, he can hand down a sentence. The judge will say whether or not the invalidity is granted, whether temporary or permanent, who will be the legal guardian since then and whether the internment of the individual in an institution is necessary for his support.

    In what cases does it work? Areas of intervention

    We have already seen how a standard trial in disability courts works. Now let’s find out what they are the most common types of cases that judges and forensic psychologists typically face in disability courts.

    1. Disability or change in abilities

    Most of the cases that are brought before these courts concern the claim for invalidity for people who, affected by a psychological illness which limits their ability to act persistently over time and for so many things, as we have seen at the beginning, that he cannot govern himself.

    Obviously, all cases are not the same, because the handicap can present itself gradually. For that, in addition to the figure of the guardianship, there is also that of the guardianship. Guardianship would correspond to the person responsible for looking after a totally incapable individual.

    However, if the subject is only incapable to a certain extent and therefore requires the assistance of a person for certain particular matters, it is more likely that the judge will choose to award guardianship.

    2. Case of profligacy

    Lavishness is a special case of treatises on expert psychology in incapacity courts. Refers to individuals who, for different reasons, waste their wealth compulsively and without any limit, Endanger their economic situation and that of the people for whom they are responsible. This condition can occur, for example, in people with a gambling addiction.

    In such cases, the judge may declare partial incapacity and entrust guardianship to a parent who will be responsible for administering the property of the person in question.

      3. Power of the Fatherland

      Parental authority, which refers to the parents of persons declared incapable, is another situation which is also taken into account in invalidity courts. If they are minors, when they reach the age of majority, parental authority will be extended, so that the parents will continue to be their legal guardians..

      In the case of adult children, but unmarried and living with their parents, if they were declared incapable, parental authority (which had ended at the age of majority) would also be restored. by parents.

      4. Capacity recovery

      But not all cases dealt with in specialized psychology in invalidity courts are concerned with determining whether a person, hitherto capable, should be declared incapable. The opposite case can also occur and wondering if the disability attributed to a particular person still makes sense or, on the contrary, he must revoke and restore his legal capacity.

      It can occur in cases of illnesses with certain psychological illnesses which, thanks to treatment, have been remitted or are reasonably controlled as if the subject had been able to regain his capacity to act and had therefore asked the judge to put an end to their situation. ‘disability. Likewise, it will be evaluated by the court’s forensic team so that the judge has all the necessary information and thus pronounces a sentence.

      5. Change of guardian

      The team of experts in disability court psychology may also be called in to assess a possible change of guardian. It may happen that the tutor himself has requested it, either because he is not able to continue to exercise this responsibility, or for some other reason. Another person may also have requested it, considering that the tutor is not fulfilling his role as he should.

      even it is perhaps the authorities themselves who reopen the case by verifying that the supervision is not exercised as required by law. and therefore the incapable person demands that another person take responsibility for him.

      6. Precautionary measures

      They can also occur emergency situations requiring rapid incapacity of a person, for example in the face of involuntary confinement in a psychiatric establishment. Judicial authorization should always take place in such a scenario, but if the situation is so urgent that it was not possible to request it before, the head of the center must inform the court before 24 hours. have elapsed since internment.

      Likewise, the measure must be ratified by the court, within 72 hours of receipt of the request. In addition, the process must always be carried out by the judicial authority of the province in which the center in which the person has been detained is located, whether or not the subject habitually resides elsewhere.

      That would be the main casuistry one that would be faced by psychology experts in disability courts?

      Bibliographical references:

      • Asensi, LF (2007). The psychological test for disability. Legal and forensic psychology. University of Alicante. Department of Health Psychology.
      • Sarmiento, A., Varela, OH, Puhl, SM, Izcurdia, MA (2005). Psychology in the legal field. Buenos Aires: Ecuador.
      • Solitari, R. (2011). Legal incapacity, parental authority and human rights. The political challenge of equal rights and the right to be different. Search directory.

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