Law Themes in Forensic Psychology

Academic year
Subject Area
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

This course unit does not demand any prerequisites, either at competency or knowledge level

Teaching Methods

Classes will rotate between expository methods, analysis or jurisprudence; case studies; contacts with judiciary services and court support.

Learning Outcomes

General objectives:

-           To promote knowledge/understanding in the area of theses and fundamental juridical norms for working as a psychologist in a forensic context;

-           To develop competencies of analysis and reflexion in the articulation between Law and Psychology, be it in the conceptual field or in forensic practice.

Theoretical Competencies, the intention is that the students:

- Know the different areas of Law at the level if its principles and main procedural rules;

- Identify the principles, norms and juridical rules which frame the role of the forensic psychologist;

- Recognise the specificities of each juridical area.

Practical Competencies, the intention is that the students:

- Are able to apply the acquired knowledge in real, specific situations.

Work Placement(s)



Law and Psychology.

The Pillars of Legal System and Judicial Organisation.

Penal Law and Criminal Procedure:

- Crime: crimes against people; Crimes against the family;

- Broad strokes of Portuguese criminal procedure;

- Evidence: testimony, witness protection and statements; expert evidence;

- Provisional suspension of procedure;

- Sentence and execution of sentencing and security measures;

- Legal regime of Penal Mediation.

Law and Civil Process:

- Principles and essential procedural rules;

- Evidence: witness testimony, expert testimony;

- Incapacity;

- Moral damage.

Mental Health Law.

Rights of the Family and of Children and Youngsters:

- Families in Portuguese law (maternity and paternity);

- Parental responsibility: regulation, limitation and inhibition/reversal of prosecution;

- Adoption; civil sponsorship;

- Law of Protection of Children and Youngsters in Danger;

- Educational Tutelary Law;

- Mediation in Family and Child Law.

Head Lecturer(s)

Rui do Carmo Moreira Fernando

Assessment Methods

Group homework: The students will be informed of the content and structure of the work/assignment at the beginning of each academic year: 30.0%
Frequency: 70.0%


Bolieiro, H. & Guerra, P. (2014). A criança e a justiça. Coimbra: Coimbra Editor.

Carmo, R. (2011). A Prova Pericial – enquadramento legal. In M. Matos & R. A. Gonçalves (Coord).  Manual de Psicologia Forense (pp.35-50). Braga: Psiquilíbrios.

Carmo, R, (2010). Um exercício de leitura do regime jurídico da mediação penal. Revista Portuguesa de Ciência Criminal, 20 (3).

Carmo, R. (2013). Declarações para memória futura: Crianças vítimas de crimes contra a liberdade e a autodeterminação sexua. Revista do Ministério Público,134.

Centro de Direito da Família da Universidade de Coimbra (2014). 6ª Bienal de Jurisprudência de Direito da Família. Coimbra: Coimbra Editora.

Latas, A. J., & Vieira, F. (2004). Notas e Comentários à Lei de Saúde Mental. Coimbra: CEJ/Coimbra Editora.

Santos, M. S., & Leal-Henriques, M. (2016). Noções de Direito Penal (5ªª edição). Lisboa: Rei dos Livros.

Santos, M. S., Leal-Henriques, M & Santos, João Simas (2010). Noções de Processo Penal. Lisboa: Rei dos Livros.