There are important differences between general and forensic psychiatry.
In forensic psychiatry the psychiatrist serves a third party rather than
the patient; both the patient and the psychiatrist must understand this to
avoid misrepresenting the doctor's role to the patient and to enable the
doctor to adequately serve the law. Psychiatric opinions that are useful
for treatment may not be useful in determining whether a person can be
considered responsible or competent. In forensic work the psychiatrist's
role is not that of a therapist; it is that of an evaluator and an opinion
giver but not a decision maker.