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Family Section

Webinar: Instructing experts in the family courts (24 February 2015)

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In one of the four webinars inclusive in 2014 Family Section membership, Stuart Barlow outlines solicitors’ professional obligations and offers practical advice

The Justice Minister has stated that the government is to announce early changes to court rules on the use of expert witnesses in family proceedings, with the aim of cutting delays and costs. The changes are designed to ensure that expert witness reports are only used where necessary to determine a case. The minimum standards required of witnesses are being reviewed as is whether meeting these standards should be a requirement for public funding.

Jerry Bull

Speaker: Jerry Bull

This timely webinar will provide practical guidance on:

  • When can and should an expert be instructed in family proceedings?
  • Who should fund these assessments and who should take the lead in such instructions?
  • How and when to draft letters of instruction to experts in children cases
  • Key procedural changes
  • What preparatory work will be necessary and at what stage in proceedings should this be conducted?
  • What will the minimum standards for expert witnesses likely to be?
  • What may happen if instructions to an expert are delayed through the fault of one party/lawyer leading to a delay in the case?
  • What powers does the court have regarding an expert who is late without reasonable explanation ?
  • What will be required of legal representatives in terms in communications with potential experts, what feedback should be given?

Speaker

Jerry Bull, managing partner, Atkins Hope Solicitors

Jerry’s specialist expertise lies in acting for children, parents, guardians, grandparents and other relatives and for local authorities in child-related cases and disputes. He has 25 years as a solicitor and a background originating in local authority work which has given him a good understanding of the processes surrounding the care system. He also has Higher Rights of Audience in civil matters.

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