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The Chief Medical Officers Report - Its Context and Significance

Date:3 JAN 2006

The Rt Hon Lord Justice Thorpe. The article is based on a paper given at the Northumbria University Child Protection Conference in November 2005. Over the course of the last 30 years, the contribution of forensic medical expertise in family court proceedings has been crucial. More often than not reliable findings as to past events depend upon the assessment and opinion of medical experts. Multiple factors are deterring potential contributors from participating in family proceedings. It might be thought that the principal deterrent is the example that has been made of Professor Southall and Professor Sir Roy Meadow. Linked to that assumption would be the impact of the judgment of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal in R v Cannings [2005] EWCA Crim 01, [2004] 1 WLR 2607. However, the author believes that the origins of the current crisis can be traced to the previous decade. See January [2006] Fam Law 16 for the full article.

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