A forensic assessment is conducted either at the request of an attorney or by a court order. Either way, the purpose of a forensic assessment is to determine the facts under question in a legal matter such as a lawsuit or a criminal case.
The psychologist may be asked to assess whether or not the client was legally insane when he committed a criminal act, or whether she is mentally competent to stand trial. Depending on the specific question, the psychologist will conduct a clinical interview, collateral interviews with witnesses, family, friends, attorneys, police officers, etc. The psychologist will review records such as medical, psychological, criminal, school, etc. as well as administer psychological tests, and form an opinion to answer the legal question.