A report by Professor Jane Ireland, published in 2012, claimed that up to 20% of Experts instructed in cases in the Family Courts are not qualified.
The National Centre for Applied Psychology published this paper in April 2012 in response to a publication by the University of Central Lancashire (UCL) of a summary report “Evaluating Expert Witness Psychological Reports: Exploring Quality”.
The Author of the UCL paper was Professor Jane Ireland and the research was conducted with funds from the Family Justice Council (an independent body, funded by the Ministry of Justice).
In the first report of it’s kind in the UK, Professor Ireland looked at 126 Expert Witness reports from Courts in the Midlands, North and South of England. Professor Ireland, who is herself an Expert Psychological Witness, also came to some other rather surprising conclusions. Including that two thirds of the reports reviewed in the research were rated as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ and that 90% of the Expert Witness Psychologists in the sample group were not currently in clinical practice.
Whilst Professor Ireland herself acknowledges that the report is a ‘preliminary study’ it does raise some challenging questions for those operating in the profession and also for solicitors and Courts who are responsible for instructing experts.