OBJECTIVE: The study aims to approach forensic psychiatry within different contexts. It endeavors to show how this specific psychiatry science area is influenced by legal and cultural aspects. METHOD: The bibliography reviewed had in view understanding the different ways of how to deal with law within the psychiatric sphere, from a cultural point of view. RESULTS: there is a great heterogeneity, of different nature (legal, political, cultural, and religious) that enrich, but at the same time makes difficult, a debate about this issue. CONCLUSIONS: there are two great obstacles to achieve a good knowledge about the practice of forensic psychiatry all over the world. The first one is represented by a heterogeneity that makes difficult its description in a comprehensible way. The second is the lack of knowledge of the cultural diverse realities. These difficulties should be a stimulus for newer studies of this characteristic. Only in this way it becomes possible to gradually increase the comprehension of this issue.
Forensic psychiatry; Mental health; Comparative study; International law; Culture