The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, explains the new strict regime for the use of experts in children care cases under the revised Public Law Outline (PLO): ‘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'. The three pronged approach is: first, a reduction in the use of experts; second, a more focussed approach in the cases where experts are still needed; and, third, a reduction in the length of expert reports. For example, whether or not to direct an expert's report will be an issue for the case management judge at the initial case management hearing (CMH) - ‘when in doubt leave it out'. Furthermore, those experts who are needed must deliver their reports more promptly and in a shorter and more focused fashion and the case management judge should approve the letter of instruction at the CMH.
The full version of this article appears in the July 2013 issue of Family Law.