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CARE PROCEEDINGS: O-M, GM (and KM) v The Local Authority, LO and EM [2009] EWCA Civ 1405

Date:21 DEC 2009

(Court of Appeal; Thorpe, Wall and Patten LJJ; 21 December 2009)

Clinical involvement did not of itself affect a doctor's capacity to act as an expert witness. A situation in which experts in rare bone disorders were both treating a child and acting as expert witnesses was different to the situation in Re B (Sexual Abuse: Expert's Report) [2000] 1 FLR 871, which had involved a clinician treating a child for alleged sexual abuse giving her opinion as an expert as to whether sexual abuse has occurred. In this case there had been real consensus among the experts. Medical evidence was to be looked at in terms of the court proceedings: there was a clear distinction to be drawn between a medical decision as to what was clinically required for a child's treatment and a forensic decision about what was necessary to ensure a proper determination of an issue. When a parent sought permission to instruct another expert witness, the burden was on the parents to show that the additional expert would contribute something to the case.