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77 Newmarket Road,



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Other Info

For solicitors or other instructing parties


Establish at the beginning whether the psychologist is able to do the work – is it within their area of expertise?


Be clear about timescales. In general Marilyn Sher can file reports within 6 weeks of receiving instructions and the dossier of information. In some instances, this may be done sooner, but this needs to be established at the earliest point


Provide as detailed instructions as you can. It is always helpful to think about exactly what questions you want the psychologist to answer in their report.


Examples of instructions received in the past include:

  • Undertake an assessment of risk of violent reoffending and outstanding treatment needs, if any

  • Please comment on suitability for release into the community

  • Establish the clients ability to participate in the trial process, considering their mental illness

  • How does the client’s learning disability impact on their ability to give evidence in court?

  • Provide an explanation for the clients current presentation as aggressive and controlling

  • Offer a view on the sexual offending work the client has undertaken, and whether this has effectively reduced their risk

  • Comment on the suitability of the professionals approach to undertaking an assessment of learning disability

  • Explore how the clients early life experiences/abuse impact on their current presentation

  • Provide an analysis of the incident where X made threats to kill staff. Comment on whether this could be considered an indicator of risk in the community

For trainees


The following tips have been provided by past and current trainees:


Know your candidate handbook inside and out. This book is invaluable in supporting and guiding you through the chartership process. Ensure that you refer to the competencies within it whenever preparing supervision plans, logs/diaries and reflective reports. Also refer to the detailed competencies when planning to do a piece of work to ensure you cover everything you need to in order to complete that work to a high standard. Failing to do this has inevitably led to trainees not passing work submitted for assessment.


When identifying a supervisor, it is helpful to ensure the following:

  • Are they able to provide you with the time and support you require?

  • Are they experienced in the ‘new route’?

  • How have their previous trainees done?

  • How much do they charge per hour?

  • Once you have identified a potential supervisor, it is important to draw up a contract with them, setting out things such as fees, notice periods for terminating contract, timescales and expectations. The BPS have a template for such a contract that can be downloaded from their website.

Top Tips...

Useful Links                                  









 BPS Expert Witness Page

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