Detail of outcome
The joint Ministry of Justice and Family Justice Council consultation in respect of standards for expert witnesses in the family court ran from 16 May to 18 July 2013. We received 140 responses which covered the main practitioner and regulatory groups as well as responses from delivery agencies, representative groups, including those representing experts, solicitors, local authorities and members of the judiciary. This document is the formal response to the consultation. It gives an overview of responses to the consultation questions and sets out the final agreed standards. It also covers next steps for implementation.
The consultation is aimed at experts, the professional and regulatory bodies for the professions from which experts are drawn, and solicitors and other practitioners in the family justice system in England and Wales. We invite views in particular on the scope, content and language of the standards, their applicability to different professions, how well they fit with existing regulatory and legal requirements and any evidence on the impact they may have.
An Impact Assessment indicates that experts providing evidence to the family courts are likely to be particularly affected. The proposals may lead to additional costs for some experts. The proposals may also lead to additional costs for solicitors’ firms and/or parties involved in proceedings and the public sector (primarily HM Courts and Tribunal Service), but these potential costs may be offset by other savings. An Impact Assessment has been published on the Ministry of Justice website alongside this consultation paper.
Comments on the Impact Assessment are very welcome. We are also inviting respondents to provide any information on potential equalities impacts (question 13 in this consultation paper).