Kristjan Kask Sandra Salumäe
PhD, Researcher Master’s student
University of Tartu University of Tartu
The Analysis of Complex
and Psychology Expert
Assessments in Estonia
Every year, several hundred forensic psychiatry and psychology expert assessments are conducted on per-
sons on whom an examination ruling has been issued by the body conducting proceedings (or ‘BCP’).*1
However, it is not known how frequent the cases are wherein the assessment identiﬁ es the presence of a
‘mental and behavioural disorder’. Therefore, complex forensic psychiatric- and psychological-examina-
tion-based assessments in the years 2011 and 2012 are examined.
The composition of expert assessments is regulated by the Forensic Examination Act (FEA).*2 Under
the FEA’s §4 (1), an expert is a person who uses non-legal special knowledge for conducting expert assess-
ment in his or her ﬁ eld of expertise. An expert may also, under the FEA’s §4 (2), be either a forensic expert
(who works at the relevant state institute of expertise and whose main task is to conduct expert assessments
by dint of the FEA’s §4 or a state-acknowledged expert (i.e., someone recognised as an expert by the state).
1.1. Capability of guilt
A person is capable of guilt when he or she is mentally capable and at least 14 years old, according to §33 of
the Penal Code (PC)*3. If a person is mentally capable, then he or she has understanding of the lawfulness
of the act committed and is capable also of acting accordingly. If this ability is absent or limited, the person
is not mentally capable (PC, §34) or has diminished mental capacity (PC, §35). Accordingly, a person is
deemed mentally incapable (under the PC’s §34) when he or she is incapable of understanding the unlaw-
fulness of the act or incapable of acting according to such an understanding for reason of mental illness,
temporary severe mental disorder, mental disability, feeble-mindedness, or any other severe mental dis-
order. A person can be considered as of diminished mental capacity (PC, §35) if there are statuses present
that are consistent with the PC’s §34, subsections 1–5 but at the same time the intensity thereof does not
exclude his or her ability to understand the unlawfulness of his or her act or to act in accordance with such
1 Kuritegevus Eestis 2014 (Crime in Estonia 2014). Tallinn: Justiitsministeerium 2015.
2 Forensic Examination Act (Kohtuekspertiisiseadus). – RT I, 16.4.2014, 6 (in Estonian).
3 Penal Code (Karistusseadustik). – RT I, 23.12.2014, 16 (in Estonian).
JURIDICA INTERNATIONAL 23/2015