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.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Experts in the News: 20% of experts are not qualified

Channel 4 News tonight at 7pm will carry a full report on some research by Professor Jane Ireland undertaken for the Family Justice Council in which she found that 20% experts in family cases were not qualified.  Further details are on the Channel 4 site  She was also concerned to find expert psychologists reporting on parents without ever meeting them.  The Channel 4 page says the research has been published but I cannot yet find it on the net.  I will post again when it is available.

I must say I have not found this to happen much in practice.  I can only think of one case involving a Psychiatrist instructed before proceedings were issued  who, outrageously in my view, wrote a report on both mother & the children without meeting any of them and concluded that it was highly likely the children had been sexually abused (without a shred of hard evidence).  As soon as I became aware of it I argued that the report should be ignored and that another expert should be instructed and the court agreed and expressed concern about the manner of the instruction in the first place.  I think I may also have seen a report done where a parent did not turn up.  Have others come across this happening a lot?  Or at all?

Reminded of Penny Cooper's research which showed a frighteningly large number of lawyers did not check out expertise in family cases - you can get a copy of it by clicking on the link and emailing her.

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