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Psychiatric assessment of adults in care proceedings

  • Rajan Nathan (a1), Ruth Scarisbrick (a2) and Gaynor Brown (a3)


Psychiatric assessments of adults involved in care proceedings can play a critical role in assisting the family court to resolve proceedings justly. To properly carry out this role, the psychiatric expert should have an up-to-date understanding of the wider context within which they are working. This article outlines the legal framework of care proceedings in England and Wales and summarises the key aspects of the process. The duties of the expert and how the expert is engaged are explained. Finally, guidance is presented on how the expert should approach questions that are commonly raised in these proceedings.


After reading this article you will be able to:

  • appreciate the legal framework relevant to care proceedings in England and Wales
  • recognise the circumstances in which expert psychiatric evidence relating to adults in care proceedings is commissioned
  • understand the common questions posed to expert psychiatrists undertaking assessments of adults in care proceedings and develop an assessment framework.




Corresponding author

Correspondence Professor Rajan Nathan, Chester Medical School, Bache Hall, Chester CH2 1BR, UK. Email:


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Psychiatric assessment of adults in care proceedings

  • Rajan Nathan (a1), Ruth Scarisbrick (a2) and Gaynor Brown (a3)
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