27 November, 2018
The President of the Family Division of the High Court, Sir Andrew McFarlane, in an interview with The Times highlights the negative impact on family law proceedings because of cuts to legal aid fees.
Being able to commission an expert opinion from a doctor or child psychologist for family court proceedings can be vital to representing our clients, whether Forbes are acting for the children or one of the parents. The Times newspaper and Bond Solon recent survey found that half of the professional experts who replied no longer did legal aid work, and 72 per cent said that they would stop if fees were reduced again by the Legal Aid Agency. For the most challenging cases it is often not possible to commission medical experts - leaders in their own fields in child protection and child psychology - because the rates set by the Legal Aid Agency are lower than the standard professional fees for medical experts.
Sir Andrew McFarlane's comments echo what many family lawyers are experiencing as they support their clients. Family Court judges increasingly rely upon expert reports from medical professionals as they consider what is in the best interests of the child in a diverse range of childcare cases including non-accidental injuries, neglect or abuse.
At Forbes we support parents and families who are involved with children's services. We are able to provide advice for child protection meetings. For further information please contact our Family team via email or phone 0800 689 1058. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.