Volume 28, Issue 1 (1999)
The School Psychologist as an Expert Witness: Strategies and Issues in the Courtroom
Cynthia L. Elias
Abstract: The school psychologist who testifies as an expert witness in court or in administrative hearings is at a disadvantage unless he or she understands the purpose and role of an expert witness, the type of evidence useful to the court or administrative law judge, and strategies for enhancing testimony. Recognition of relevant legal and ethical issues also is necessary if the school psychologist is to protect the interests of the client and avoid personal liability. This review examines strategic and theoretical issues concerning privileged communications, assessment, and conduct in the courtroom. It explains the purpose of the deposition, direct examination, and cross-examination and addresses common mistakes made by expert witnesses. Strategies and issues specific to the due process hearing also are reviewed.
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