Expert Evidence About Violence Risk Assessment: A Study of Canadian Legal Decisions

Jennifer Storey, Valerie Campbell, Stephen Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent decades the practice of violence risk assessment and use of violence risk assessment instruments has become widespread in the criminal justice system. How are courts reacting to these developments? Herein the findings of a survey of Canadian case law are reported. Using Quick Law 35 cases were systematically identified in which judges commented on expert evidence regarding violence risk. Judicial comments were summarized with respect to evaluator qualifications, assessment procedures used, and presentation of findings and opinions. Findings indicate a wide variety of judicial preferences including the skill and knowledge of the evaluator, the type of information used, the description of findings and procedures, and the applicability of legal rules. Although potentially useful to evaluators caution is urged regarding the incorporation of some judicial preferences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-296
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Forensic Mental Health
Issue number4
Early online date18 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Violence risk assessment report
  • criminal court
  • police
  • expert evidence
  • expert witnesses

Cite this