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UK High Court Considers Qualifications of Court Appointed Experts

By November 7, 2022June 26th, 2024No Comments

UK High Court Considers Qualifications of Court Appointed Experts

In a recent High Court case the most senior judge in the UK High Court namely Sir Andrew MacFarlane is to oversee an appeal which is being brought by a mother who challenged the qualifications of a court appointed expert who found that she had ‘alienated’ her children from her father.

The assessor in question a Melanie Gill was alleged to be ‘not an appropriate qualified expert’ and not regulated by any professional body by the husband.

In the UK the only psychologists subject to statutory regulation are those registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) although experts who do not qualify for registration can still be appointed at the discretion of the courts.

The High Court Judge in question directed that Judge MacFarlane should consider whether it was appropriate to instruct the assessor in question in circumstances where she ‘has no recognised substantial post graduate qualifications, is not registered as a practitioner or psychologist, and is not subject to professional regulation’. He also added that it was in the opinion of the President of the Association of Clinical Psychologists that ‘she should not be acting as an expert in court proceedings.

The qualifications of appropriate experts is an ongoing  issue particularly given the dearth of suitably qualified experts.

It will be very interesting to see what the outcome of Judge MacFarlane’s judgement is on this very important and sensitive issue in this jurisdiction.

For further advice on any family law issue, please do not hesitate to contact either Brendan Dillon or Erika Coughlan on 01 2960666.