Expert Witness

Family Law

In the recent case of X, Y, Z (children) (anonymity: identity of expert) the High Court allowed the name of an expert witness to be released.  The ruling has been seen as a move towards greater transparency in the family courts.

The case involved a local authority who wished to instigate child care proceedings as they believed the mother was making her children undergo unnecessary medical examinations.  The local authority instructed an expert witness to prepare a report on the family.  This was subsequently undermined and the High Court criticised the quality of the expert witness’ evidence.  The local authority withdrew the proceedings.

The mother and a journalist then sought to have the name of the witness released.  The Court granted the request as there was no compelling case to interfere with the freedom of expression of the media.