The Early Instruction of Experts

06 JUL 2006

Her Honour Judge Lesley Newton. Clearly there are major issues as to the shortage of experts willing and able to provide expert assistance to the family courts over a wide range of disciplines. In Greater Manchester, extensive discussions have taken place as to what might be achieved locally in terms of the more effective use of experts in public law cases. Many individuals have contributed to the debate, some as part of the Greater Manchester Family Justice Council Experts sub-committee, some within conferences held by Child Concern and some during the conference on delay held by Greater Manchester Family Justice Council in January 2006.

The proposition is that the obtaining of rapid expert advice at an early stage in the proceedings, either:

  • as to one or more substantive issues within the case or
  • as to the future management of the case

can prove significantly more helpful to children and their families and may represent a more effective use of scarce resources than the traditional assessment commonly provided some 4-6 months after the commencement of proceedings.

This item reflects the joint proposals of the author, His Honour Judge Iain Hamilton, Sheena Adam, Dr Shazad Amin, Professor Tim David, Nick Hodson, Sue McColl, Dr Clive Reading and Dr Adrian Sutton. See August [2006] Fam Law 678 for the full news article.

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