(Court of Appeal; Thorpe, Rimer LJJ, Dame Janet Smith; 19 January 2012)
A fact-finding hearing found fractures of 10-week-old child had been non-accidental and perpetrated by the mother and father. A placement order was made and contact with the mother was terminated and the child was placed with prospective adopters. The mother sought permission to appeal the placement order and the fact-finding determination. The mother instructed an American paediatrician and sought permission to have his report admitted as fresh evidence.
Application refused. The Court of Appeal emphasised that (i) an applicant seeking permission to appeal, or an appellant who had been granted permission to appeal, in a family case needed the court's permission to instruct a fresh expert. (ii) When seeking to instruct a fresh expert from some other jurisdiction, the matters requiring explanation included why a United Kingdom expert had not been used, what efforts had been made to identify UK experts, and the financial implications of instructing an overseas expert.