American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 51, Issue 1 (2015)


Copyright American Judges Association. Used by permission.


The role of the modern trial judge maintains basically a managerial character,1 but the tools at the judge’s disposal are continually evolving. To perform effectively, the judge must draw upon an array of legal and technical resources. To this end, Forensic Assessments in Criminal and Civil Law provides valuable insight regarding forensic mental-health assessments from a technical, scientific perspective. Numerous contributors submit overviews and analyses of the various ways in which forensic mental-health assessments are employed by the court system. This review examines Forensic Assessments in Criminal and Civil Law as a resource for the bench.

Overall, the book is well edited, with each chapter following the structure of (1) Legal Context; (2) Forensic Mental Health Concepts; (3) Empirical Foundations and Limits; (4) The Evaluation; and (5) Report Writing and Testimony, making the work congruent and easily referenced, despite the overall density of the volume. The work is best utilized as a reference material, not to be digested in one sitting.