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Experts: from 'reasonably required' to 'necessary

The Court of Appeal is increasingly supporting robust case management decisions but what are we to make of the new requirements that family law experts should be 'necessary', asks Graeme Fraser

15 October 2013

New family rules to define and restrict the use and instruction of experts have been introduced during a period when there is ongoing and considerable scrutiny about their cost, quality and effectiveness in resolving litigated disputes.

The most notable change introduced by the Family Procedure Rules 2010, Part 25 at the end of January 2013 is the requirement to restrict opinion evidence to that which in the opinion of the court is ‘necessary’ in place of the old rule of that which is ‘reasonably required to assist the court to resolve the proceedings’.

Sir James Munby, the president of the Family Division has made clear on two different panels of the Court of Appeal in Re TG and Re H-L that the new test gives more control to the court over expert evidence, empowering family judges with the ability to make robust case management decisions to make sure that such evidence is f...

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