Background. The implementation of ethical principles in forensic psychology in Russia is facing serious challenges. Expert’s evaluations have to be managed in accordance with the basic ethical principles of practical psychology in general. At the same time, the specific activities and role of a forensic psychologist differ from the professional activities and roles of a psychiatrist, psychologist-consultant, or psychotherapist.
Objective. This study focused on the identification of the main ethical problems of psychologists, who are obligated to conduct expert evaluations for the court.
Design. This study was conducted according to a qualitative paradigm, using a combination of the methods: content analysis of court materials and written expert opinion; analysis of court cases; interviews with experts; and analysis of international standards and guidelines for the professional activities of forensic experts.
Results. The ethical problems are determined by several factors: 1) the lack of a scientific basis for the regulations; 2) the complexity of the role structure of the expert’s practice; 3) the lack of practically oriented studies devoted to ethics; and 4) the lack of a venue for systematic discussion and supervision. Ethical problems are often solved by specialist exclusively according to their personal attitudes which could be risky in terms of violations of professional ethics.
Conclusion. There is a lack of systematic studies on the ethical problems in forensic practice. The preliminary data show that the rapidly growing field of expert evaluation requires the closest attention in developing ethical standards and understanding of the expert’s activity and role structure.
Keywords: ethical problems; forensic psychological evaluation; expert opinion; professional competence