Nov 11, 2021 by Foresight
Standards for Expert Witnesses Within Family Courts
Within any type of family law case, it is important that the case is handled with sensitivity, professionalism and impartiality.
Foresight’s expert witnesses are well versed in the upholding of family law procedures and protocols. Having experienced a wealth of previous scenarios during their careers to date, they can draw upon this far-reaching expertise when addressing each individual case.
As you might expect, both transparency and governance are key factors which figure prominently when expert witnesses are undertaking their roles. Transparency is now more important than ever, as family court hearings are to be opened up to media reporting. While governance of the underlying principles should be rigorously applied and adhered to whenever our expert witnesses accept your client’s case.
Expert Witnesses Lend Key Support to Family Court Cases
As with criminal cases the role of the expert witness is to assist family courts by facilitating their knowledge and skill sets to compile and present advice on specialist matters. Irrespective of which party instructed them from the outset, the expert witnesses’ responsibility and accountability is to the family court. Where they are tasked with delivering impartial opinion.
Ultimately, this allows those who preside over a family court to discharge its fundamental duty, and to exercise its legal right to decide what cause of action best serves the welfare interest of those at the centre of a particular case.
Professional periods spent working within a host of different backgrounds qualifies an expert witness to perform their independent role, where typically disciplines can encompass, medical, psychology, and psychiatry. Initially sought out and instructed by virtue of the knowledge, skills and experience they have built up in their main profession, an expert witness possesses the competence to apply their specialist skills appropriately within a family court setting.
Standards for Experts set by the Ministry of Justice.
Experts tend to be asked their opinion on whether an episode which has befallen a child within a conventional home setting is likely to have been the result of an accident. They could also be asked to assess a parent’s capacity to meet the needs of their child. With any family court proceeding, utilising the individual knowledge and experiences of a dedicated expert witness helps construct a more accurate picture of background and specific events leading up to court appearances.
With all this in mind, it’s imperative that expert witnesses abide by strict codes of conduct. As of October 2014 - and following a consultation period carried out the year before - new standards for experts working in family proceedings relating to children were ratified by new legislation.
These measures introduced were part of wider proposals which aimed to minimize extensive delays in family proceedings, while also implemented to afford a judge the right to commission expert evidence during a hearing if they considered it necessary for a just resolution to a case.
Developed in conjunction with the Family Justice Council, revisions meant that only qualified, experienced and recognised professionals could present evidence in the capacity of expert witnesses in family court environments relating to children.
The standards covered various aspects relating to expert witnesses, including that they have:
- Knowledge appropriate to the court case
- Been active in the area of work or practice and have sufficient experience of the issues relevant to the case
- Been regulated - or accredited - to a registered body where this is appropriate
- Relevant qualifications and have received appropriate training
- Complied with safeguarding requirements
Foresight Expert Witnesses Here to Represent Your Clients
At Foresight our expert witness panel comprises professionals with a diverse spectrum of expertise when it comes to family law. All benefitting from years of first-hand experience in their respective fields, family courts and familiarity and compliance with legal matters. Which all helps us to collectively deliver an accurate and timely appraisal of your clients’ situations.
For more information about how we can help represent you and your clients, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
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