Revised Experts Practice Direction

08 Oct

There has been a change to the Practice Direction 25B. From now on only recognised, experienced and accredited professionals will meet the criteria of being “experts” for the purposes of family court proceedings. It is perhaps understandable that at some stage the Courts would set the qualification criteria for experts to be involved in the family courts and indeed in decision making over children’s lives.

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There has been a change to the Practice Direction 25B. From now on only recognised, experienced and accredited professionals will meet the criteria of being “experts” for the purposes of family court proceedings. It is perhaps understandable that at some stage the Courts would set the qualification criteria for experts to be involved in the family courts and indeed in decision making over children’s lives.

The new standards mean that experts now have to meet the following criteria –
• They have to have knowledge appropriate to the Court case they are being asked to deal with
• They have to have been active in the area of work or practice they are concerned with and have sufficient experience of the issues relevant to the case in hand
• They have to be either regulated, or accredited, by a registered body where this is appropriate
• They have to have relevant qualifications and received appropriate training and
• They have to comply with safeguarding requirements.

The above list is comprehensive and will (I would assume) only be applied where a “new” or untried expert is being suggested by any party. The difficulty may be that the list provides Court with not only a safeguard but a restriction on who may now be an expert.

The knock on effect may be that this will limit the introduction of any new, and as yet untried experts, in to the family court arena: and thus with the numbers of experts continuing to diminish it will limit still further the experts we will have access to in the future.

On the up side the list above does provide a useful template for those who wish to critique the choice of any expert and analyse their CV, “expertise” and appropriateness to any particular case.

Dylan Morgan

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