In care proceedings cases, admission of expert evidence can be vital for a just outcome; but how have the reforms of the new Children and Families Act changed the way such expert testimonial is admitted?
Statute now directs that the use of expert evidence is “permitted only when necessary to resolve the case justly, taking account of factors including the impact on the welfare of the child, and whether the information could be obtained from one of the parties already involved in the proceedings.”
As much as is possible, expert evidence should be commissioned as early in the proceedings as possible, preferably at the Case Management Meeting. Any evidence put before the court without the required permission will be treated as inadmissible.
In many care proceedings cases – particularly those where parents are accused of causing non-accidental injuries to their child – the use of expert testimony – the right expert testimony – is vital to a just outcome to the case.
As just one example, in a recent non-accidental injury case won by Brendan Fleming Solicitors, a haematologist, a geneticist, a paediatrician, a neuro-surgeon and an ophthalmologist were instructed to give their expert opinion in order to establish that the injuries sustained were a result of a congenital pre-disposition suffered by the child, and not a case of “shaken baby syndrome.”
Unfortunately under the new laws, the defense may now have to work to convince the court that further admission of expert evidence is required to bring about a just resolution to the case. Essentially, if social services have drawn a conclusion from the evidence at their disposal and you disagree with this, and need expert opinion to back you up, you – and your solicitor – need to persuade the court that there is an omission in the social worker’s evidence that only admission of expert evidence from another professional can competently fill.
Otherwise, the only “expert” evidence the court will hear is that of the social worker, and that can lead to injustice and the break up of families.
Contact Us Now
Brendan Fleming Solicitors are nationally recognized as a leading choice in the area of care work. We are justifiably proud of our expertise and our success rate. We are contracted to the Legal Services Commission for this type of work and are considered to be one of the leading national firms for publicly funded services.
Our principal, Brendan Fleming, has won a reputation for his innovative approach, spearheading many new ways of securing justice for families caught in the care proceedings trap. He is a member of a select children’s panel and recognized and approved by the Law Society.
If you feel wrongly accused, but feel you need an additional admission of expert evidence to support your case, see how we can help you: contact Brendan Fleming Solicitors today.