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Expert Witness News

Ryder MJ’s family justice review published

Picture of Mr Justice Ryder for Expert Witness storyMr Justice Ryder's report into the modernisation of family justice was published on 31 July and contains a series of proposals to improve the workings of Family Courts. His recommendations have been endorsed by the Lord Chief Justice and are intended to change the culture of the family courts for children and families themselves, and for judges, lawyers, social workers, Cafcass and social workers.

They include proposals to manage cases closely, identifying the key issues and making sure timetables are followed. A single Family Court will unify the various courts from magistrates upwards.

In particular, experts will be scrutinised more carefully, a move flagged up by Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly at a Westminster Hall debate on 24 May and reported on this site (Expert testimony to come under scrutiny: 27 June).

Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 17:24

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Cases involving trees require specialist arboricultural advice

Your Expert Witness treeAlmost everyone likes trees. They provide many benefits, from the aesthetic to biodiversity and from cleaning the atmosphere to providing timber.  However, they can become problematic when things go wrong.

Although relatively rare, trees can cause personal injury and death when they fail and this often results in legal proceedings. As recently as 17 June three young boys aged 9 were crushed when a tree fell on them at Wandsworth Cricket Club. There have been a number of key legal cases involving tree related injuries in recent times including Poll v Bartholomew (2006) EWHC (QB) Bristol which was the case that prompted the establishment of the National Tree Safety Group (NTSG) to develop a common sense approach to tree risk management and balance the risks posed by trees against the environmental benefits they provide.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 16:02

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Expert testimony to come under scrutiny

Your Expert Witness Jonathan DjanoglyThe quality of expert witness reports in the family courts was put in the spotlight at a Westminster Hall debate on 24 May.

Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly said that the rules would be changed to ensure expert reports are only used when they are “necessary to determine a case”.

The Minister added: “Expert evidence will of course continue to be important in some cases to ensure a fair and complete process. Where expert evidence is required, we are working to ensure that it is of high quality and delivered promptly.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 10:57

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MoJ gets new Permanent Secretary

Your Expert Witness Ursula BrennanHead of the Civil Service Sir Bob Kerslake has announced that the new Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice will be Ursula Brennan. Sir Bob said her previous experience of working as a Director General at the Ministry of Justice will prove invaluable in helping the department deliver its ambitious agenda for reform. She moves after four successful years at the Ministry of Defence – first as Second Permanent Secretary and then as Permanent Secretary since November 2010.

He said: "I am very pleased to announce that Ursula will be taking up the reins at the Ministry of Justice. Her experience in this area will be invaluable in helping deliver the Government's ambitious agenda for the delivery of justice services.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 June 2012 11:28

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New ways of working pose money laundering risks

Your Expert Witness pound coinsOne of the areas of practice attracting much attention in the world of the expert witness is also, according to reports in the legal press, attracting the attention of money launderers. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is an area of increased risk from criminals laundering money, as is litigation, the Law Society has warned.

Another risk is the potential for organised criminals to "seek to invest in legal practices through the licensing of alternative business structures", another blossoming trend in the legal profession.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 June 2012 11:30

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