Related Sector: Expert Witness
On the 26 October, The President of the Family Court, Sir Andrew McFarlane will hear an appeal of a case involving parental alienation. In the course of this appeal he is expected to deal with arguments as to whether or not an unregulated psychologist is an appropriate expert witness in family proceedings concerning children.
The Guardian reports that the appeal arises out of an order made that the children concerned should be removed from their mother and live with their father. The jointly instructed expert witness had given her opinion that the mother had alienated the children from their father.
Following the making of that order, the mother had argued that the hearing should be re-opened on the basis that the expert witness was not properly qualified or regulated. The judge who made the original order refused that application. but, when that refusal was appealed, Mr Justice Peel gave leave to appeal to the President of the Family Court.
Among the issues in the appeal are the following:
- “The appropriateness or otherwise of instructing unregulated psychologists as experts in family proceedings concerning children, and in particular in cases where parental alienation may arise”.
- Whether it had been appropriate to instruct the particular witness, when they have “no recognised substantial postgraduate qualifications”, are “not registered as a practitioner psychologist” and are “not subject to professional regulation”.
The regulation and qualification of expert witnesses are issues which arise across all areas of expertise. The hope is that Sir Andrew will be able to give some useful guidance for the Family Court in this particular area.
Bond Solon will provide a full analysis of the judgment once it has been handed down.
Author: Nick Deal
Article first published: 19 October 2022
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