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How Much Weight Does a Social Worker’s Opinion Carry in Court?

How much weight a social worker’s opinion carries in court depends upon if the social worker is an expert witness, a lay witness, or a character witness. It also depends upon if the case is a criminal, civil, or administrative matter.

In the Benchbook in the Behavioral Sciences, written as a guide to judges and litigators, the authors write:

When the behavioral sciences are limited to the empirical world, and based upon only those hypotheses that have properly grown out of the methodology of science, then they have immediate utility to legal decision making.  When the behavioral sciences stray from the methodology of science, their spokesmen are no more valuable to law, than the telephone psychic hotline.

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