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.

Friday, 12 November 2010

HAT tricks

Judgment has now been delivered in a case involving Hair Alcohol Testing (LB Richmond v B & W [2010] EWCA 2903). You should be aware that I appeared in that case for Trimega Labs as intervenor. I will be doing my best to draw some practice lessons from it in further blogposts but the headlines are:-

* hair tests should be used as part of the complete evidential picture
* greater use of the Experts' Practice Direction when hair tests are commissioned or at least when interpretative analysis is sought
* the tests are reliable to show excessive alcohol use ie above 60gm alcohol per day or just under a bottle of wine / 2-3 pints lager
* the test results cannot yet discriminate between people who are abstinent and those who are social drinkers
* if reliance is sought to be placed on any result other than consistent with excessive use / inconsistent with excessive use experts must be able to justify this
* test results purporting to show alcohol use month by month are not approved by the Society of Hair Testing
* testing for both FAEE & Etg is more reliable than testing for one batch of markers only.

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