Lawyers' Perception of Psychologists who do Forensic Work

Document Type

Journal Article


South African Bureau for Scientific Publications


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Psychology




This article was originally published as: Allan, A. , & Louw, D. (2001). Lawyers' perception of psychologists who do forensic work. South African Journal of Psychology, 31, 12-20. Original article available here


In South Africa there is a lack of empirical data regarding the quality of the testimony of psychologists. In order to fill this gap, 252 South African lawyers were surveyed to determine their perception of the value of the testimony of psychologists, and of psychologists' knowledge, conduct, and adherence to the rules of expert testimony. For the purpose of comparison a group of 75 psychologists who do forensic work, were also surveyed. The findings was that lawyers generally did not believe that the potential value, or actual contribution, of psychological testimony was high. Their ratings of the actual knowledge of psychologists were significantly lower than their expectations in this regard. However, they rated the conduct and adherence of psychologists to the rules of expert testimony as satisfactory. The implications of these findings are discussed