Law and psychiatry in the USA and UK: Another perspective

Samuel Jan Brakel*, James L. Cavanaugh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Dr Beck's comparative description of forensic psychiatry in the UK and the USA is generally on target. One of its more useful insights is that the differences that are there tend to stem from different conceptions of the relationship between government and the individual. Another important point is that differences 'on the books' frequently soften, if not disappear, when one looks at actual practices in the respective countries. Still, there are occasional points in the article where one is prompted to dissent from Dr Beck's description and analysis. In particular, there is a sense that if the article had been more forward-looking, more commonality would have been found between US and UK ways of doing psychiatric forensics. In most respects, mental health law and practice in our two countries are more similar today than in the past and will probably continue to grow closer together.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-39
Number of pages12
JournalCriminal Behaviour and Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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