Approved Medical Practitioners - Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act, 2003 Training Manual

Training material for Approved Medical Practitioners

Section 13. Appendix 3 - Psychiatric report to the Court

Suggested structure/contents of a psychiatric report to the Court

A good psychiatric report to the Court uses plain English, and explains medical jargon. It will also be sufficiently comprehensive to preclude where possible a requirement for oral evidence.

Key heading areas in the report

Preliminary information

  • At whose request the assessment was undertaken, circumstances of assessment (place, time, any constraints on assessment such as inadequate time to complete assessment due to prison routine)
  • Sources of information used (interview with the person, interviews with others, documents examined)
  • The person's capacity to take part or refuse to take part, and understanding of the limits of confidentiality
  • If any important sources of information could not be used, there should be a statement explaining why this was the case.

Background history

  • Family history
  • Personal history
  • Medical history
  • Psychiatric history
  • Recent social circumstances
  • Personality
  • Forensic history

Circumstances of offence or alleged offence

Progress since offence or alleged offence

Current mental state


Would cover all or some of the following matters:

  • Fitness to plead
  • Presence of mental disorder currently and whether the criteria for the relevant order are met
  • Presence of mental disorder at the time of the offence:
  • the relationship between any mental disorder and the offence (this is still relevant even if - the person has been convicted, as it may affect the choice of disposal)
  • whether the person was insane at the time of the offence
  • in murder cases, whether there are grounds for diminished responsibility
  • Assessment of risk:
  • the risk of harm to self or others
  • the risk of re-offending
  • the relationship between this risk and any mental disorder present
  • does the person require to be managed in a secure setting, and if so, should this be at a state hospital?
  • What assessment or treatment does the person require?
  • does the person need further assessment?
  • where? Does the person need a period of in-patient assessment and at what level of security?
  • why? What issues remain to be clarified?
  • Does the person require treatment for a mental disorder or condition?
  • what treatment do they need, and where?
  • State any matters that are currently uncertain and the reasons they remain uncertain.


  • Should the Court consider using any particular order?
  • If so, what arrangements have been made for the person to be received in hospital or elsewhere under this order?
  • Whose care will the person be under?
  • Consider whether an alternative order may be appropriate if circumstances change so that the order recommended above cannot be acted on. For example:
  • if the person is or is not found to be insane
  • if the person is or is not convicted.

Medical practitioner's details

  • Name
  • Current post
  • Current employer
  • Qualifications
  • Registration status with the General Medical Council
  • Approved under Section 22 of the 2003 Act and with which NHS Board
  • A statement that the report is given on 'soul and conscience'
  • A statement as to whether the medical practitioner is related to the person
  • A statement as to whether the medical practitioner has any pecuniary interest in the person's admission to hospital or placement on any community-based order
  • The medical practitioner should sign the report.

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