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New standards for experts in children proceedings finalised

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Aim is for standards to be in force in April 2014

  • Experts in children's proceedings will have to comply with minimum standards once the the Single Family Court comes into operation next April. This change is confirmed in a response to a consultation exercise carried out earlier this year, published by the MoJ and the Family Justice Council last week. 

    The consultation revealed that 'there is clear and overwhelming support for the introduction of new minimum standards' and over 140 responses were received. However the final standards are very much in line with those published in the original consultation document the only significant change being that experts will not be assessed on whether they get feedback on their work from those in court as that was felt to be out of their control. 

    The consultation has also resulted in a change to the title of the standards - originally 'Standards for Expert Witnesses in the Family Courts' - as a number of respondents suggested it had wider application than just children's proceedings. Accordingly the final standards will be known as the

    'Standards for Expert Witnesses in Children's Proceedings in the family court'

    While the aim is for the standards to come into effect in April 2014 family justice system users are encouraged to 

    prepare for these standards immediately and start to use them well before the April date of formal implementation. For experts this will mean ensuring that they comply with the standards themselves and for other parts of the system, especially those commissioning experts, this will mean ensuring that proper processes are in place through which you can be reassured that an expert complies with these standards. 

    The full response document, including the revised final standards, can be accessed on the MoJ website here

    The final standards are also set out in full on the Family Law Hub here. This page will be updated as and when changes are made.


Published: 10/11/2013

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