Cheshire East Council

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Family President issues memorandum explaining principles on expert evidence, hits out at "pseudo-science"

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has issued a memorandum seeking to explain the principles applied by the Family Court when it considers whether to authorise or admit expert evidence.

It also repeats the reminder that experts should only be instructed when to do so is ‘necessary’ to assist the court in resolving issues justly.

The memorandum, which can be viewed here, covers:

  • Admissibility
  • Scope of expert evidence
  • Governing criteria
  • Assisting the court
  • The expert’s knowledge and expertise
  • Impartiality
  • Reliable body of knowledge or experience
  • Necessity
  • Duties to the Court and Professional Standards

In the conclusion Sir Andrew writes: “The Family Court adopts a rigorous approach to the admission of expert evidence. As the references in this memorandum make plain, pseudo-science, which is not based on any established body of knowledge, will be inadmissible in the Family Court.”

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