CARE PROCEEDINGS/ HAIR TESTS: London Borough of Richmond v B and others [2010] EWHC 2903

06 DEC 2010

(Family Division; Moylan J; 12 November 2010)

There was an issue as to the mother's alcohol abuse. A hair test was ordered to establish the mother's alcohol use. The mother disputed the results and a second test produced inconclusive results. 

This case highlights the need for considerable caution when hair tests for alcohol are being interpreted and relied upon, both generally and particularly in isolation. Hair tests should be used only as part of the evidential picture due to its limitations. Here the failure to establish the full picture in relation to hair testing until the final hearing had failed the parties and the children. The Practice Direction "Experts in Family Proceedings Relating to Children" is mandatory and applies to all expert evidence.

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