CE credits: 1
Exam items: 10
Learning objectives: After completing this course participants
will be able to:
1. Recognize ethical challenges psychologists should consider
when responding to subpoenas that request disclosure of
client records or test data.
2. Understand the factors that determine whether a subpoena’s
request for information carries the force of law.
3. Weigh options for opposing or limiting production of client
records or test data in response to a subpoena requesting
production of those materials.
Over the course of their careers, many psychologists will receive subpoenas directing them to disclose or testify about a client’s records or test data. Such requests can
put psychologists in a quandary: As practitioners, they are well
versed in the ethical, professional and legal obligations related
to maintaining patient confidentiality, so how can they release
In an effort to guide psychologists in this area, APA’s
Committee on Legal Issues recently updated its article on
understanding subpoenas, seeking to offer strategies that
psychologists may use to respond to subpoenas or compelled
court testimony. While this article is not intended to establish
standards of care or conduct for practitioners, it seeks to address
several common questions psychologists have when responding
to such legal requests. It is important to note that this article
does not provide legal advice, nor is it intended to be or
substitute for the advice of an attorney.
the court calls
Psychologists are obligated to
protect their clients’ records.
So what do they do when they
are presented with a subpoena
or asked to testify?
By APA’s Committee on Legal Issues