New legal regulations concerning appointment of forensic experts in legal incapacity
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Psychiatr Pol 2009;43(5):611–617
Aim. The Statue changing the Code of Civil Procedure enforced interchangeable calling of psychiatrist or neurologist as a medical expert for proceedings concerning the incapacitated which aroused objection from psychiatrists because of separate competencies for these specialists and the expectations on the professional code relating to the field of knowledge and competency of a psychiatrist. The purpose of this article is to raise awareness of physicians of both specialisations and lawyers. The preceding legal regulations: art. 553 of the Civil Code without any doubt state that, the person to be incapacitated has to be examined by one or more forensic psychiatrists. Till now, the content of art. 554 par. 1 of Code of Civil Procedure did not mention specialisation in any way, which leaves doubt that it refers to a psychiatry expert. currently, the person whom the application for legal incapacitation involves, has to be examined by a psychiatry or neurology expert, as well as psychologist (553 par. 1), while par. 2 determines in details the scope of assessment, which should be in a forensic opinion, and doubtlessly they are in competency of the psychiatrist, similarly as moving a proposal of necessity of observation. Conclusions. 1. The psychiatry expert and if need be, a psychologist expert should provide all opinion during proceedings concerning incapacity. 2. Proposal for the necessity of forensic observation should be moved by 2 psychiatry experts. 3. Henceforth, until this legal regulations is amended, the neurologist has a right to deny taking on the expert function due to a necessity to express an opinion in a specialisation overstepping his/her competence. 4. The term mental deficiency should be changed to mental retardation in force with ICD-10.