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New standards aim to promote quality expert evidence

The Government has announced that vulnerable children will receive additional help through the introduction of new national standards, which will raise the quality of expert evidence in family courts and end unnecessary delays.

Delays in family courts can have a damaging effect on already vulnerable children, and the new measures will tackle what the Government considers to be one of the biggest causes of delays – the costly and unnecessary commissioning of additional written statements, clarifications and court appearances by expert witnesses.

The standards, which have been developed in partnership with the Family Justice Council, will mean only qualified, experienced and recognised professionals will be able to give evidence as expert witnesses in family proceedings relating to children.

The standards include ensuring the expert:

  • Has knowledge appropriate to the court case.
  • Has been active in the area of work or practice and has sufficient experience of the issues relevant to the case.
  • Is either regulated or accredited to a registered body where this is appropriate
  • Has relevant qualifications and has received appropriate training
  • Complies with safeguarding requirements.

The Government has already put in place a number of changes to speed up family courts and is currently changing the law to bring in a 26 week time limit for care proceedings so there is a much clearer focus on the child and their needs and cases don’t get caught up in unnecessary delay. The average time taken for care cases has already been reduced from over 56 weeks to 41 weeks.

Contact our specialist family lawyers and therapists

If you have a family dispute that needs resolving, we are here to help and look forward to your call. Please contact us on 01483 826 470 or complete our online enquiry form to the right of this page.

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