Applications for expert evidence must comply with FPR
The Court of Appeal has issued a timely reminder of the importance of proper compliance with Part 25 Family Procedure Rules and s.13 Children and Families Act when seeking to rely on any expert evidence within family proceedings.
The Father’s appeal against the Circuit Judge’s refusal to overturn the Magistrates’ order that he “submit to” a psychological assessment was allowed, where there had been no formal notice of the application; the application was never made in accordance with FPR 25; there was no evidence to support the application; and the Father was ordered to fund half of the costs of the expert despite being a litigant in person and despite there being no evidence before the court as to the likely cost of the expert report and the Father’s means.
The CA also made important points about the approach to making orders for parties to fund such reports and pointed out that there was no mechanism in law which could require a party to submit to a medical assessment of this type. Orders should be drafted so as to make clear that inferences may be drawn in the event that a party fails to co-operate with such an assessment, if it is deemed necessary.