Malingered mental health: Legal review and clinical challenges in English and Welsh law

Peter Beazley, Charlotte Emmett

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Abstract

Malingering – the feigning of mental or physical health symptoms for external gain – is a significant problem for clinicians, the courts, and society. For clinicians working in mental health settings, it is a complex task to differentiate malingered presentations from genuine ones, with a range of potential legal and ethical questions facing the clinician who conducts this task. Yet, the malingering of mental health problems has a range of potential impacts. For the courts, malingering presents a significant threat to their basic function by acting as a significant impediment to truth. For society, malingering wastes clinical time, leaves the potential for injustice to occur in response to criminal acts, and has a significant financial burden in unwarranted civil payments. The focus of the present review is therefore to review the issue of malingering from a legal perspective, leading to a consideration of recommendations for a clinician faced with assessing a client suspected of malingering behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-75
Number of pages75
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Capacity Law
Volume28
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2022

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