Keep child expert witnesses anonymous

Family Law

Sir Nicholas Wall, the President of the Family Division, has called for the anonymity of experts to be maintained in family cases.


Addressing the Bond Solon Expert Witness Conference in December, Sir Nicholas referred to a care proceedings case, A v Ward, in which Munby LJ rejected applications for anonymity of the professionals involved. Sir Nicholas criticised sections of the media for spreading a message that child protection experts as a whole cannot be trusted.

Citing a psychiatrist’s report on the dangers posed to patient trust, Sir Nicholas said: “Clinicians fear that if what children say to them can be reported, or even if the clinician is named as having spoken to the child and what the child said can be reported then, in addition to the already chronic shortage of expert witnesses in family proceedings will be added the further burden of the child refusing to talk to the clinician, because the clinician cannot promise confidentiality.”
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