Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2009] All ER (D) 207 (Dec)
Neutral Citation: [2009] EWCA Civ 1405
Court: Court of Appeal, Civil Division

Thorpe, Wall and Patten LJJ

Representation Dafydd Griffiths for the mother.
  John Gibson for the local authority.
  Anita Thind for the children's guardian.
Judgment Dates: 21 December 2009


Family proceedings - Evidence - Expert evidence - Children suspected of sustaining non-accidental injuries - Expert evidence being given in relation to both children - Mother applying for preliminary paediatric overview of medical evidence and permission to instruct further experts - Judge refusing mother's applications - Whether need for distinction to be drawn between treating doctors and those advising court - Whether judge erring.

The Case

Family proceedings Evidence. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, found that the judge had been correct to dismiss the mother's applications for a paediatric overview of the medical evidence and permission to instruct further experts. A blanket approach which precluded treating clinicians from becoming jointly instructed witnesses in respect of children they had treated ran the risk of the court being deprived of expertise and excellence. However, there would be circumstances where a second expert opinion was necessary to enable a process not only to be fair but to be seen to be fair. Such an opinion, if obtained by parents accused of causing non-accidental injuries, might be conclusive of the issue, but in each case it had to be for the judge to decide that such an opinion was properly called for.

Practice Areas

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