This week I attended the Jordan's Evidence in Child Abuse conference in London which was absolutely fascinating. Mr Justice Baker gave the opening address in which he highlighted the impact of the family justice reforms on expert evidence in family proceedings. He maintained that experts will continue to play a vital role in the single family court and that the effect of r 25.1 of the FPR 2010 was to raise the bar for the instruction of experts but that manifestly the answer to the question 'is your expert necessary' would in many cases be in the affirmative.
This sentiment was shared by Dr Jayaratnam Jayamohan, consultant neurosurgeon, based at the John Radcliffe Hospital. His parting thought was that a child going through the legal process was entitled to the same treatment as one going through the medical process. In the latter, a child would be provided with a number of experts in order to arrive at an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan and, therefore, why should the same course not be on offer in legal proceedings which, arguably, when a child has made a full recovery, have far greater consequences for that child's life.
But, for now, back to the week's case highlights. It's been an interesting and varied week in the courts. On the subject of financial remedies we are publishing two judgments in the same case: PG v TW (Nos 1 and 2),  FLR forthcoming, concerning a mother's application in relation to her child, whose father was a high earning professional footballer, where both the mother and father were involved in proceedings in their home country in Africa. However, in that jurisdiction while provision had already been made for maintenance there existed no remedy for capital provision. In the substantive decision (No 2) the judge substituted the African jurisdiction and made an order to that effect in order to provide the mother and child with a means of accommodation in circumstances where she had been living with her parents and sought a secure property of her own in which the raise her child.
In another pragmatic decision, Kent County Council v PA-K and IA  EWHC 578 (Fam),  FLR forthcoming, the local authority was looking for a means of placing the child with prospective adopters in the USA, where her older sibling was also placed. Despite an earlier decision which declared the adopters eligible to adopt the child pursuant to the Adoption and Children Act 2002, the couple's English domicile was preventing them from legally being able to adopt the child in the USA until 2014 when they would be able to apply for US citizenship. Mrs Justice Pauffley, in applying the reasoning in ECC (The Local Authority) v SM  EWHC 1694 (Fam),  1 FLR 234, permitted the child's removal to the USA in accordance with the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010. The judge held that the child could be placed with prospective adopters in the USA for longer than the 10-week period providing there was a settled intention that the child should remain habitually resident in England and Wales and that the English court retained jurisdiction.
In a decision from the Queen's Bench Division the judgment R (AB and CD) v Haringey London Borough Council  EWHC 416 (Admin),  FLR forthcoming, concerned a judicial review application made by parents who were experienced social workers and who had been the subject of a s 47 investigation by their local authority due to, what in the event, turned out to be, a malicious allegation that they had physically and emotionally abused their child. His Honour Judge Anthony Thornton made declarations that all reference to a s 47 investigation be removed from the local authority records and damages, to be later assessed, would be awarded.
Next week I am anticipating an influx of cases as judges clear their desks for the close of the judicial term for the Easter break, so be prepared!
The content of this article should not be considered as legal advice.