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Forensic practice is a peculiar niche of medicine, often requiring a different approach and thought process than that routinely utilized in clinical practice. The forensic evaluator must inform the subject under examination of the exact nature and purpose of the evaluation, and make clear that a typical doctor-patient relationship is not being established. Competency is a broad area of forensic practice, with important applications to routine clinical medicine as well as criminal and civil law. Competency to proceed to trial is a major source of forensic psychiatric evaluations. Tort law covers an expansive range of legal issues, only some of which are likely to involve the use of neuropsychiatric experts. The neuropsychiatrist who accepts a forensic role also assumes tremendous responsibilities involving up-to-date medical knowledge, familiarity with pertinent law, and ethical duties particular to the medical expert role.
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