Forensic psychological evaluations are often conducted to address questions relevant to
ongoing or anticipated legal proceedings where an individual's psychological functioning
may be in question. Such evaluations can be initiated by individuals, their legal counsel,
or by courts when a specific legal matter is pending.
Civil settings in which psychological evaluations are commonly needed include those in which
an individual's capacity to make decisions may be the primary issue. In other civil
proceedings, psychological evaluations may be used to provide explanations regarding the
behavior of individuals or to assist courts when questions of psychological injury or treatment
In criminal settings, forensic psychological evaluations are often to assist the court in
understanding the motivations for an individual's behavior, current psychological status, or to
address fundamental questions regarding an individual's psychological and intellectual capacity
to participate in legal proceedings.