Rely on the most comprehensive, up-to-date legal content designed and curated by lawyers for lawyers
Work faster and smarter to improve your drafting productivity without increasing risk
Accelerate the creation and use of high quality and trusted legal documents and forms
Streamline how you manage your legal business with proven tools and processes
Manage risk and compliance in your organisation to reduce your risk profile
Stay up to date and informed with insights from our trusted experts, news and information sources
Access the best content in the industry, effortlessly — confident that your news is trustworthy and up to date.
With over 30 practice areas, we have all bases covered. Find out how we can help
Our trusted tax intelligence solutions, highly-regarded exam training and education materials help guide and tutor Tax professionals
Regulatory, business information and analytics solutions that help professionals make better decisions
A leading provider of software platforms for professional services firms
In-depth analysis, commentary and practical information to help you protect your business
LexisNexis Blogs shed light on topics affecting the legal profession and the issues you're facing
Legal professionals trust us to help navigate change. Find out how we help ensure they exceed expectations
Lex Chat is a LexisNexis current affairs podcast sharing insights on topics for the legal profession
Printer Friendly Version
The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, recently handed down his third View from the President’s Chambers, focusing on the reform of expert evidence. As he says:
‘My call to everyone in the family justice system is simple and clear. We can and must reduce the excessive length of far too many care cases. In order to achieve this we must get a grip on our excessive and in many instances unnecessary use of experts.’
He adds: ‘The problem does not lie with the experts themselves. It lies in the use we make of them.’
This is not of course the first time this year that the issue of experts has been the subject of change and scrutiny, the President touched on this area in his previous View from the President’s Chambers in April 2013 and amendments were made to the Family Procedure Rules 2010, Parts 1 and 25 and the associated Practice Directions in January 2013.
It is easy to feel swamped under the increasing mountain of guidance, changes to legislation, and case law, so what purpose does the President’s View have? Well, it’s a heads up, and indication from the top that unlike, for example, MIAMs, a hard line is going to be taken on other reforms to the family justice system.
The President provides a checklist of what is going to happen:
The necessity of expert evidence has recently been under the scrutiny of the Court of Appeal in Re H-L (a child) (care proceedings: 'necessary' expert evidence)  EWCA Civ 655,  All ER (D) 112 (Jun). In a recent LexisPSL Family News Analysis Barbara Mills of 4 Paper Buildings suggested the following key points for family lawyers to take account of following Re H-L:
The President concludes his third View by saying:
‘Case management judges must take appropriate steps to encourage compliance by experts with these requirements. Judges cannot of course tell experts what they are to say; but they can require compliance with PD25B. And there is no reason why case management judges should not, if appropriate, specify the maximum length of an expert’s report. The courts have for some time been doing say in relation to witness statements and skeleton arguments. So, why not for expert’s reports? Many expert’s reports, I suspect, require no more than (say) 25 or perhaps 50 pages, if that. Here, as elsewhere, the case management judge must have regard to the overriding objective and must confine the expert to what is necessary.’
The message on expert evidence is loud and clear. But there will always be exceptional cases, and judicial discretion...
Geraldine Morris is a solicitor and head of the LexisPSL Family team
0330 161 1234