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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

11 JUN 2008

Lord Justice Wall, Judith Parker QC and Michael Keehan QC: Expert Evidence in Action

Lord Justice Wall, Judith Parker QC and Michael Keehan QC

Part of the afternoon session of the Jordans conference on 'Medical Evidence and Advocacy in Child Abuse Cases', held in London in January 2008, was given over to an exercise in which a hypothetical expert witness (Dr Salix) was examined and cross-examined by leading counsel (Michael Keehan QC and Judith Parker QC) on a report which he had written for hypothetical care proceedings in which the case for the local authority was that a child had died as a result of inflicted, non-accidental injuries. This was followed by a plenary discussion in which the report and the doctor's evidence were discussed.

The exercise was regarded by the delegates to the conference as very valuable and, as a consequence, the report has been reproduced in June's Family Law journal and have coupled it with commentaries by the three lawyers who took part.

Inevitably, there was an element of artificiality. Dr Salix's report was the only report available and the presiding judge (Wall LJ) did not give a judgment or comment on the report during the doctor's evidence. However, the value of the exercise as a whole, and the dangers inherent in reports such as those put forward by Dr Salix, are, the authors think, fully reflected in the commentaries which follow.

For the full article, see June [2008] Family Law journal.

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