(Family Division, Sir Nicholas Wall P, 31 May 2012)
The President was asked to provide guidance on the instruction of publicly funded expert evidence during the course of proceedings in relation to a 16-month-old child. He was subject to an interim care order and was living in a mother and baby foster home. Reports from a consultant adult psychiatrist, clinical psychologist and independent social worker were unfavourable to the mother.
A consent order was made directing an independent social worker to undertake a parenting assessment, the cost of which was to be met jointly by the mother, father and the local authority. The mother was also given permission to instruct an adult psychiatrist, the cost of which was to be funded by the mother's public funding certificate as a 'reasonable and necessary disbursement'.
The LSC refused prior authority for funding due to the excessive cost. That refusal had caused a substantial delay in proceedings. The matter was transferred to the PRFD and a request for guidance was made. The President issued a series of guidance points for cases such as this while not pre-determining the outcome of the case.