Expert Witness Resources

Standards for Expert Witnesses in Children’s Proceedings in the family court

On October 1st 2014, following a consultation period between 16 May to 18 July 2013, new standards for experts working in family proceedings relating to children became law. These changes are part of a larger undertaking to reduce extensive delays in family proceedings and follow the new laws implemented in April 2014 which mean a judge can only commission expert evidence if they consider it necessary for a just resolution of the case.

A recent examination of public family law cases has demonstrated the positive impact the new laws have had, with the average time being reduced from 55 weeks to 30 weeks. Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes believes that these new laws will place children at the ‘heart of the family justice system’ and that the negative impact that extensive delays have on the children involved can be significantly reduced by ensuring that only qualified and experienced experts provide an opinion.

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