The European Impact on National Forensic Psychiatry

  • Anton van Kalmthout
  • Paul MevisEmail author


This essay discusses the European impact on national forensic psychiatry, in particular for the position of mentally disordered persons. A distinction can be made between the instruments of the Council of Europe and of the European Union. The Council has a passive approach concerning the ECrtHR and a more active approach with the CPT. The instruments of the European Union aim to strengthen the general principle of cooperation in criminal matters within the EU, based on mutual trust. This assumption can get under pressure, in particular when the differences in safeguards increase. Besides the instruments, the acknowledgement of the vulnerability will be discussed. Moreover, the determination of vulnerability and the fact that heightened vulnerability demands accommodation of extraordinary safeguards at trial and in the execution of criminal sanctions. This is where the forensic psychiatrist plays a role. This essay describes the role of the psychiatrist in case of a vulnerable person as suspect of a criminal case. Important factors to take into account during trial are the fitness to stand trial and the procedural rights, for example, a fair trial. The legitimacy of the execution of sanctions is based on Article 5 ECHR which contains several assumptions that require special attention for the forensic psychiatric in case of vulnerable persons. The European impact on national forensic psychiatry is clearly shown by the results of the CPT, which will be discussed at the end of this essay.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminal Law, Faculty of LawTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Criminal Law and Criminal ProcedureErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

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