Dr Matthew Hartley

Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist

Dr Matthew Hartley is a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist. He is available to provide expert evidence in criminal, immigration, and civil proceedings.

Instructing Dr Matthew Hartley

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Dr Matthew Hartley is a consultant forensic psychiatrist, currently employed on an acute medium secure clinical decisions unit at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. He regularly assesses new patients for the acute forensic pathway in both prison and healthcare settings. He has practiced regularly as an expert witness since 2019.

Dr Hartley’s preclinical and clinical medical training was at King’s College London. He has been a qualified medical practitioner since 2013 and a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists since 2018. He holds an intercalated Bachelor of Science in Medical Ethics and Law from King’s College London. His core psychiatric training was on the Maudsley Training Programme and forensic training on the South London scheme. He is approved under Section 12(2) of the Mental Health Act (MHA) 1983 (as amended in 2007) as a medical practitioner with specialist expertise in the assessment and treatment of mental disorder, and he is an Approved Clinician.

Dr Hartley’s previous experience includes training roles in general adult, child and adolescent, and specialist psychotherapy services. As a forensic psychiatrist, he has worked in a wide range of settings, including high, medium, and low secure services, a prison in-reach team, and as an acting consultant in a community forensic service.

An area of academic interest includes ‘acute behavioural disturbance’ and the safe management of agitation. He has published a peer-reviewed publication in this area and sat on the Royal College of Psychiatrists Expert Reference Group on ‘acute behavioural disturbance’ and ‘excited delirium’ in 2022. Another research interest is in mental capacity, fitness to plead and the management of vulnerable defendants in the criminal justice system. He has been a lead researcher on a prison study into fitness to plead in a remand population, which is in progress.

Experience of giving evidence

Dr Hartley has written numerous psychiatric reports for both Magistrates’ and Crown Courts, with experience giving oral evidence in both settings. Through his clinical work, he has experience giving written and oral evidence to First-Tier Mental Health Tribunals, including individuals with restrictions under section 37/41 of the Mental Health Act 1983, as amended in 2007.

He also has experience preparing psychiatric reports in civil proceedings.

Cases undertaken

Dr Hartley has been instructed in relation to a wide range of criminal proceedings including:

  • Violent offences
  • Sexual offending
  • Stalking
  • Drug offences
  • Arson
  • Fraud

Instructions have included:

  • Diagnostic reports
  • Fitness to plead
  • Effective participation
  • Insanity
  • Capacity to form intent
  • Risk assessment and giving sentencing recommendations.

He has experience as an expert witness in extradition proceedings.

Specialist assessments offered

  • HCR-20 to assess and manage risk of violence
  • RSVP to assess for risk of sexual violence
  • Diagnostic Interview for ADHD in Adults (DIVA) – to diagnosis Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


  • First author: Non-conventional pharmacological formulations for enhancing the management of acute disturbance, Journal of Psychiatric Intensive Care and Low Secure Units, September 2019
  • Co-author of Royal College of Psychiatrists Position Statement PS02/22: ‘Acute behavioural disturbance’ and ‘excited delirium’, September 2022


Dr Hartley is responsive and prompt in the delivery of reports within the agreed timeframes. He is willing to travel for assessments and is prepared to conduct evening and weekend assessments if required.

Qualifications and memberships


  • MBBS, King’s College London
  • BSc in Medical Ethics and Law, King’s College London

Professional memberships

  • MRCPsych (Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists)
  • Approved under Section 12(2) of the Mental Health Act 1983, as amended in 2007
  • Medical Protection Society

You can request to view the CV of any of our experts or contact us to discuss your requirements.