These rules may be cited as the Family Procedure (Amendment) (No.5) Rules 2012 and come into force on 31st January 2013.
These rules amend the Family Procedure Rules 2010 by-
- in Part 1 (the Overriding Objective) replacing paragraph (2) of rule 1.4 with a new paragraph (2) which adds " controlling the use of expert evidence " to what is included in active case management and alters the order of matters which is included placing setting timetables and controlling the progress of the case first on the list;
- in Part 12 (Proceedings relating to children except parental order proceedings and proceedings for applications in adoption, placement and related proceedings) omitting rules 12.20 and 12.74 so that similar rules can be contained alongside other rules relating to expert evidence and substituting the term "children proceedings" for "proceedings relating to children"in the heading to the Part and to Chapter 7 and in rule 12.43(a ) so that this terminology is in line with that used in the substituted Part 25;
- inserting a new Part 25 (Experts and assessors) which replaces the existing Part and changes that Part by mainly-
- altering the duty to restrict expert evidence to one where expert evidence has in the opinion of the court to be necessary to assist the court to resolve the proceedings;
- defining "expert" and "single joint expert" by reference to a person who provides expert evidence for use in the proceedings and expressly expanding those who are excluded from being an expert to include, for example, a person providing or giving evidence who is member of staff of a local authority which is a party to the proceedings in the course of the person's work for the local authority;
- providing for factors to which the court is to have particular regard when deciding in children proceedings whether to give permission for an expert to be instructed, a child to be medically or psychiatrically examined or otherwise assessed or expert evidence (in any form) to be put before the court and for factors relevant to giving permission for expert evidence to be put before the court in relation to other family proceedings such as financial remedy proceedings;
- requiring , unless the court directs otherwise , the application for the court's permission relating to expert evidence to be made as soon as possible and no later than a specified hearing in certain proceedings-for example, no later than the Case Management Conference in public law proceedings;
- providing for the application of the Part 18 procedure to applications for the court's permission, a draft order to be attached to the application and in children proceedings, for the application to state the questions which the expert is to be required to answer;
- in children proceedings, where the court grants permission, providing for the court to approve the questions which the expert is required to answer and specify the date by which the expert is to receive the letter of instruction;
- requiring within 10 business days after the final hearing for the party instructing the expert or party responsible for doing so to inform the expert in writing of the court's determination and the use made by the court of the expert's evidence;
- requiring copies of orders and other documents affecting an expert and filed after the time of instruction of the expert to be sent to the expert within a specified time and after the final hearing, for the expert to be sent a copy of the final order of the court, any transcript of the court's decision or in the magistrates' court, reasons for the decision.
A full impact assessment of the effect that this instrument will have on the costs of business and the voluntary sector is annexed to the Explanatory Memorandum which is available alongside the instrument on www.legislation.gov.uk