The issue of negligent liability of a psychiatrist is a complex topic - in the field of criminal law in medicine - for both the psychiatrist and the court called upon to assess his work. Compared to the past, the current cultural approach and the professional responsibilities in psychiatry have evolved. These cultural changes have on the one hand led to the rejection of residual claims of custodial obligations and, on the other hand, they have emphasized the connection between the framework of legal protection and assumed risks. In the field of liability for negligence, it is precisely the need to counter or curb a specific risk for the patient that consents the identification and delimitation of a precautionary rule. Thus emerges the link between protection, preventative obligations and precautionary rules. The precautionary measures relevant for imputation have, as prerequisite and limit, the legal obligations of the psychiatrist. Hence, one does not expect a higher level of diligence, prudence and expertise, than the level required of a common guarantor.
Keywords: Penal responsibility, defensive medicine, legal protection of the psychiatrist, the patient’s wishes, guidelines, suicide risk