Of all the issues that bring mental health practitioners and the criminal courts together, fitness to stand trial is by far the most common. In Canada, thousands of fitness assessments, psychiatric reports, fitness hearings, and verdicts of either “fit” or “unfit” to stand trial are rendered every year. For such a common event, one would be inclined to think that, for the most part, the law is uncontroversial; that most of the issues have been settled. Fitness to Stand Trial lays out the law as it is seemingly settled, and discusses several areas where the law is much less settled. What exactly is required of the accused in terms of their ability to think rationally? Does one need to be “fit to stand trial” in order to proceed with a bail hearing? Or, post-verdict, with sentencing? Can an otherwise unfit accused become “fit enough” with the assistance of counsel? Does the test for unfit to stand trial contain a prospective element? These and many other less-than-clear aspects of the fitness rules are explored fully in this new volume.
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: A Brief History of the Fitness Rules
Chapter 2: “Unfit to Stand Trial”: The Test
Chapter 3: When the Issue of Fitness May Arise
Chapter 4: Psychiatric Aspects of Fitness
Chapter 5: Assessing Fitness to Stand Trial
Chapter 6: Trial of the Issue of Fitness
Chapter 7: Upon a Verdict of Unfit
Chapter 8: Self-Representation: Fitness and Difficult Accused
Chapter 9: Fitness in the United Kingdom and the United States
Table of Cases
About the Authors:
Hon Richard D Schneider, PhD, LLM, CPsych is a justice of the Ontario Court of Justice, a deputy judge of the Territorial Court of the Yukon, chair of the Ontario Review Board, and an alternate chair of the Nunavut Review Board. He is also an adjunct professor in the faculties of law and medicine at the University of Toronto. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Justice Schneider was a criminal defence lawyer, a clinical psychologist, and counsel to the Ontario Review Board. He has published extensively in the area of mental disorder and the law.
Hy Bloom, LLB, MD, FRCP(C) is a forensic psychiatrist and lawyer who assesses individuals who have mental illnesses and outstanding criminal charges. He is a founding member of the PSILEX Group, Consultants in Behavioural Sciences and the Law. He is also a part-time staff member in the Complex Mental Illness/Forensic Services Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto, an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, and adjunct faculty at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law. Dr Bloom has published on a number of topics in psychiatry and the law.