Expert Witnesses

The Expert Witnesses project concerns reporting by legal psychological experts in legal cases. The Netherlands Register of Court Experts (NRGD), a public list of certified experts, has been open to legal psychologists as of May 2017. Peter van Koppen was a member of the NRGD Board at the time and Annelies Vredeveldt was a member of the Advisory Committee for Standards that established the guidelines and registration criteria for expert witnesses in legal psychology. Vredeveldt is also currently a member of the Advisory Committee for Assessments, which evaluatesĀ applications for registration as an expert witness in legal psychology.

The creation of a registry for legal psychologists prompted ALLP members to critically reflect on the role of legal psychologists in criminal cases and on what an expert legal psychological report ideally should look like. In February 2017, they organised a meeting for legal psychologists in The Netherlands to discuss reporting guidelines for expert witnesses in our field. This resulted in a publication in the Dutch professional journal Expertise & Recht (Expertise & Law), which has since been translated into English as well.

Together with colleagues and students from Maastricht University, ALLP members and students are currently investigating what legal psychological expert witness reports in The Netherlands and other countries look like and to which extent they are in line with the guidelines set out in the Expertise & Law article. In future research, we hope to investigate experimentally whether learning about the guidelines improves the quality of expert witness reports.