Philippa Laskey


Forensic psychology is concerned with criminal behaviour, the treatment of offenders, and psychology applied in courts of law (Howitt, 2009). It is an important area in the field of psychology, as criminal activity and the recidivism of offenders is frequently brought to the public’s attention (Ireland, 2009). Both the British Psychological Society (BPS; 2009) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC; 2016) provide a code of ethics that practicing psychologists should abide by. The aim of this paper was to highlight a case example concerning a violation of ethical procedures. The case highlighted the issues found with gaining informed consent in a coerced environment. Furthermore, this paper evaluated the situation and critically discussed what could be improved. Finally, a checklist was designed and outlined which could be used to prevent informed consent issues arising for forensic psychologists in the future. It was also proposed that lawyers and other legal professionals should be involved in the informed consent process by informing clients and service users of the legal implications of not participating in a psychological evaluation (Foote & Shuman, 2006). It was highlighted that while the devised checklist and the involvement of lawyers could help with the issue of gaining informed consent, it is unlikely to solve the larger issue of dual roles for forensic psychologists.