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Gisli Gudjonsson awarded CBE

Gisli Gudjonsson, Professor of Forensic Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King’s, has been awarded the title of CBE for his contribution to clinical psychology.  The CBE announcement was made on The Queen’s official birthday.

Professor Gudjonsson is viewed as having developed forensic psychology as a scientific discipline and his work, including his testimony in landmark cases in Britain and abroad, has significantly enhanced legal practice in regards to human rights of the accused, police training and confession evidence. 

He is internationally recognised for his pioneering research into the measurement and application of interrogative suggestibility, psychological vulnerabilities and false confessions, which has stimulated extensive research and been applied to forensic and legal practice worldwide.  Professor Gudjonsson has also made a large contribution to the role of psychologists as expert witnesses and has contributed significantly to the training of clinical and forensic psychologists, doctors, police officers and lawyers. 

Professor Til Wykes, Vice-Dean at the IoP and Professor of Clinical Psychology, said: ‘Gisli is a very modest individual who has not advertised his involvement in many landmark legal cases, except in brief discussions with colleagues in the canteen. He has worked thoroughly and honestly in a field that has attracted bad publicity. His work is recognised in legal circles and he justly deserves the respect and esteem of judges, barristers and the police and the gratitude of people who without his work would have not have been fairly treated by the courts.’

In 2001 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Iceland in recognition for his research in the field of forensic psychiatry and psychology.  In 2010 the Professional Practice Board of the British Psychological Society granted Professor Gudjonsson a Lifetime Achievement Award for his exceptional and sustained contribution to the practice of psychology. Professor Gudjonsson has published extensively in the areas of forensic psychology, including psychological vulnerability, false confession, and police interviewing. He pioneered the empirical measurement of suggestibility and provided expert evaluation in a number of high profile cases, including those of the Guildford Four, the Birmingham Six, the Tottenham Three, the Cardiff Three,  Judith Ward, Peter Fell, Donald Pendleton, Jill Dando murder case, Kenneth Erskine (the 'Stockwell strangler'), Derek Bentley, the UDR Four and ‘IRA funeral murders’ cases (both in Northern Ireland), Raymond Gilmour in Scotland, Henry Lee Lucas  and John Wille (USA), and the Birgitte Tengs and Orderud cases (Norway).  His testimony in the Birgitte Tengs case led to radical improvements in police interviewing in Norway and the establishment of a Norwegian Criminal Cases Review Commission.

On accepting the award, Professor Gudjonsson said: ‘This is a great honour, not only for me but as recognition of the importance and effectiveness of clinical and forensic psychology.’

Professor Shitij Kapur, Dean of the IoP, said: ‘Gisli has enriched and enhanced the Psychology Department since his arrival in 1980.  The award is an honour for not only Gisli but for everyone at the IoP and King’s, and we are all deeply proud to have him here.’


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