About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Extra experts

Two cases earlier this year illustrate the differing and sometimes unpredictable attitude of the courts to the instruction of experts. In M-M the Court of Appeal refused to allow the instruction of an additional expert to carry out a test for ostogenesis imperfecta in circumstances where one of the experts currently instructed had suggested it, not on clinical grounds but on forensic grounds ie to assist the court. The court considered that it was not for the experts to decide what was forensically required and that the test which would costs £5,000 was not justified when it would only establish OI in 1% of 300 cases where there were no other signs & the test was only 90% accurate. In the other case, Re B , the Court of Appeal allowed the instruction of a fourth expert in care proceedings, notwithstanding the fact that the opinions of the first three were against the parents, they having been experts instructed when a previous child was removed from their care. At the door of the Court of Appeal the mother gave instructions that she would separate from father and wished to be assessed as a sole carer. The mother was given leave to instruct the fourth expert on the basis that parents facing the removal of a child must have confidence in the fairness of the family justice system whilst at the same time, if the fourth expert agreed with the other three, this might short circuit the final hearing.

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