Leam Craig has been selected by the Ministry of Justice to conduct a research study into Expert Witnesses in the Family Courts, in partnership with Coventry University. A research grant of £90k has been awarded for this study.
Changes to the Family Procedure Rules came into force in January 2013 and, subject to the outcome of consultation, new Standards for experts are due to be introduced later in 2013. These developments are expected to prompt new practices for the commissioning of expert reports and positively impact on their quality, timeliness and value. Justice Ryder’s proposals for the modernisation of family justice have also indicated that expectation documents will be published which will describe agreements reached with agencies working in family justice to detail what the court can expect from existing or new processes. This research study will assist in understanding how the upcoming reforms are being implemented, identify barriers to the effective implementation of the new Rules and Standards, and help identify best practices and what further measures could be taken to encourage their implementation.