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Expert evidence in cases of alleged non-accidental injury

Date:24 OCT 2007

Darren Howe, 1 Garden Court Family Law Chambers. In Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council v GW and PW [2007] EWHC 136 (Fam), [2007] FLR (forthcoming) (comment at [2007] Fam Law 582), Ryder J provided clear guidance on best practice to be followed when instructing experts in non-accidental injury cases. In this article, Darren Howe examines the merits of these recommendations and considers how a second expert should be instructed in non-accidental injury cases. The article goes on to explore whether the court should permit the parents to have every medical angle fully investigated, an issue that was considered by the Court of Appeal in Re M (Care Proceedings:Best Evidence) [2007] EWCA Civ 589, [2007] FLR (forthcoming). In this case the Court of Appeal upheld a decision to refuse an application made by the parents for a genetic test to be undertaken to establish whether the child suffered from osteogenesis imperfecta (commonly known as brittle bone disorder). This decision, in the view of Darren Howe, does not sit comfortably with the advice of Ryder J in the Oldham case and the article concludes by offering an opinion on how the court should authorize expert investigations in non-accidental injury cases. For the full article see October [2007] Fam Law.