Handbook of Psychology in Legal Contexts

Handbook of Psychology in Legal Contexts

Handbook of Psychology in Legal Contexts

Handbook of Psychology in Legal Contexts

Synopsis

The second edition of this popular international handbook highlights the developing relationship between psychology and the law. Consisting of all-new material and drawing on the work of practitioners and academics from the UK, Europe, North America and elsewhere, this volume looks not only at the more traditional elements of psychology and the law - the provision of psychological assessments about individuals to the courts - but also many of the recent developments, such as the interaction between psychologists and other professionals, decision-making by judges and juries, and the shaping of social policy and political debate. Contemporary and authoritative in its scope, the second edition of The Handbook of Psychology in Legal Contexts will again prove to be a valuable resource for scholars and students, as well as being a vital tool for all professionals working in the field. Well known editors and an international list of authors, most of whom are leaders in their field Focus on psychological concepts and knowledge that will enlighten best practice and research The focus on process and issues ensures that the book is not limited in interest by specific legal codes or legislation, it is international More than an updating of the old chapters, really a rethinking of the field and what is now important and emerging

Excerpt

Which is it? Is psychology and law a subdiscipline and, if so, of psychology, of law or both? Is it an example of two disciplines collaborating towards greater understanding of their interrelationship, and if so is it best described as psychology in law, law in psychology or psychology and law? Should it be broadened to 'behavioural sciences' rather than just 'psychology'? Or is it a coming together, a commitment, of psychologists and lawyers to improve the quality and efficiency of our laws and legal systems? Clearly we do not have a consensus on such issues. Does that matter? Do we need to decide? Are we missing anything by not identifying, debating and tackling such issues?

This Handbook contains chapters that exemplify each of the three approaches: subdiscipline, collaboration and 'project'. But it does not follow that the authors would argue that their approach is the only appropriate position or approach. How we 'do', or what we write, in psychology and law does not, necessarily, reflect what we would like to see happening at the macro or organisational level. As individuals and groups we tend to focus on a narrow range of topics, with a view to gaining recognition for our expertise. This chapter will argue that we have not, to our loss, paid sufficient attention to the structural and thematic issues in this developing interest area. Organisational arrangements, particularly internationally (between national and regional bodies) and structurally (between researchers and practitioners but also between psychologists and

* I am most grateful to Ray Bull for his comments on drafts of this chapter, but he must not be assumed
to agree with any of it.

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