A sharp increase in the remuneration of psychiatric experts in the courts

There were not thirty-six ways to respond to the growing refusal of psychiatrists to appear on the lists of judicial experts that magistrates and lawyers request enormously. Eric Dupond-Moretti, the Minister of Justice, announced, Monday, September 13, during a trip to the judicial tribunal and the Montpellier Court of Appeal, a major boost in the remuneration of these expertises.

The goal of the Keeper of the Seals is, according to his entourage, to “Reconstitute the pool of experts that justice needs”. In fact, it is reduced like the skin of sorrow. In Montpellier, psychiatrists constitute a significant proportion of experts who have requested their removal from the list due to “Overwork”, according to the president of the judicial tribunal, Catherine Lelong.

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At the national level, the number of psychiatric experts registered on the lists of the courts of appeal increased from 800 in 2007 to 537 in 2011 and then 338 in 2017, according to the Ministry of Justice. While, at the same time, the legislator has increased the type of offenses in which expert opinions and second opinions are compulsory or legal. Some 49,000 psychiatric expertises and 40,000 psychological expertises were ordered by the courts in 2019 (to judge the compatibility of a detention in police custody with a mental state, to assess the abolition of discernment in a criminal case, to estimate the need socio-judicial follow-up, to inform a decision on a possible modification of the sentence, etc.). This worrying crisis situation has been the subject ofan important information report wrapped up in the spring by Senators Jean Sol (Les Républicains) and Jean-Yves Roux (Radical Left Party).

Psychologists also augmented

In detail, Mr. Dupond-Moretti announced on Monday an increase of 18% (from 429 to 507 euros) in the flat rate applied for classic legal expertises carried out by practitioners in the private sector. Psychiatric expertise in sexual offenses, which often require longer work, will now be billed 526.50 euros against 448.50 euros, an increase of 17%. In addition, the criteria defining an “extraordinary” expertise, remunerated at 750 euros, are relaxed, whereas only 50 expertises entered this category in 2018.

The question of remuneration was one of the main demands of the professional organizations of psychiatrists, which put on this level the first reason for the profession’s disaffection for forensic expertise. Hospital practitioners, or “occasional public service employees”, for their part, had already obtained a 17% increase in their prices in 2017, the cost of which had been shared between the ministries of justice and health. The Keeper of the Seals also announced a 5% increase (from 370 to 390 euros) in expert opinions carried out by psychologists.

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