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Pragmatism and Precision: Psychology in the Service of Civil Litigation

Authors

  • Steve Morgan,

    1. Department of Psychology, James Cook University
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  • Gavan Palk

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Accident and Road Safety Research, School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University Technology
      Gavan Palk, Centre for Accident and Road Safety Research, School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University Technology, 130 Victoria Road, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia. Fax: +61 7 3138 0001; email: gavan.palk@qut.edu.au
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Gavan Palk, Centre for Accident and Road Safety Research, School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University Technology, 130 Victoria Road, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia. Fax: +61 7 3138 0001; email: gavan.palk@qut.edu.au

Abstract

While forensic psychology is commonly associated with the criminal and family law domains, its ambit to offer skills and knowledge at the legal interface also makes it particularly suited to the civil law domain. At this time, civil law is arguably the least represented legislative area in terms of psychological research and professional commentary. However, it is also a broad area, with its very breadth providing scope for research consideration, as urged by Greene. The purposes of this article are (1) to review the broad role of the psychologist in the conduct of civil litigation matters in Australia; (2) to assist the novice to the area by indicating a non-exhaustive list of potentially ambiguous terms and concepts common to the conduct of professional practice; and (3) to highlight, as an example, one area of practice not only where legal direction demands professional pragmatism but also where opportunity arises for psychological research to vitally address a major social issue.

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