Immunity for Experts

24 FEB 2006

In Meadow v General Medical Council (2006) The Times, 22 February, Collins J in the Queen's Bench Division said that expert evidence given honestly and in good faith in a court of law would not normally merit a referral to the witnesss relevant professional body. Professor Sir Roy Meadow had given a medical opinion in the trial of Sally Clark in 1998 and had appealed against the finding of serious medical misconduct made against him by the Fitness to Practise Panel of the General Medical Council (GMC) and its order that his name be removed from the register.

As Lord Justice Thorpe said in 'The Chief Medical Officer's Report - its Context and Significance' [2006] Fam Law 17, multiple factors are deterring potential contributors from participating in family proceedings. It might be thought that the principal deterrent is the example that has been made of Professor Southall and Sir Roy Meadow. Collins J said that there was no doubt that the administration of justice had been seriously damaged by the GMC decision and the damage would continue unless it was made clear that such proceedings need not be feared by expert witnesses. See April [2006] Fam Law 255 for the full news article.

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