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New measures proposed for family court experts

New measures proposed for family court experts

The Government has proposed new measures to improve the standard of expert reports supplied to family courts.

Only qualified, experienced and recognised professionals will be permitted to provide evidence under the latest reforms put forward by the Ministry of Justice.

The new guidelines are designed to make substantial savings from the upwards of £50 million that is paid each year by the Government for expert reports in England and Wales. Family justice minister Lord McNally said the aim is to make sure evidence submitted is “robust” so that cases are resolved more quickly, as “poor quality expert evidence can lead to unacceptable delays for children and their families”.

The Ministry of Justice has noted a growing trend of “unnecessary and costly” evidence being provided by expert witnesses in childcare cases leading to delays or even the need to re-start hearings. A consultation on the proposals, which will run until July 18, is being jointly led by the Family Justice Council. The Government’s move comes after the independent Family Justice Review by David Norgrove identified poor quality evidence given by experts at family proceedings involving children. With the average time taken for care cases already reduced from over 56 weeks to 45 weeks, the Government is looking to cut that still further to 26 weeks.

Our Family and Matrimonial team helps families across West London and Bucks. For advice, contact a member of the team, call us on 01494 790058 or email familylaw@ibblaw.co.uk.