BPS urges courts to use regulated psychologists to protect children and families, with launch of its updated ‘Psychologists as Expert Witnesses’ guidance

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The updated guidance, produced in partnership with the Family Justice Council, states that instructing solicitors and courts should only appoint psychologists regulated by the Health and Care Professionals Council and/or have chartered membership with the BPS and applies to legal proceedings in England and Wales.

Professor Leam Craig, chair of the BPS’ Expert Witness Advisory Group, who co-authored the guidance, said:

“The BPS is deeply concerned about the use of unregulated experts in the family courts and the potential damage this can do to children and families. The BPS and Family Justice Council’s joint guidance have long been seen as the guiding principles for the appointment of psychologists as expert witnesses in the family court, and it is vitally important that it continues to be followed.

“Those psychologists who perform the role of an expert witness go through a high level of training, supervised practice and ongoing continuing professional development as they should, given the impact of the diagnoses and recommendations they can make. We are pleased to launch this updated guidance at a really important time and we urge courts to ensure they are appointing registered psychologists to act as expert witnesses for the protection of all involved in the legal system.

“This is this is the fourth practice guidance produced by the Advisory Group in recent years and I encourage psychologist expert witnesses, instructing solicitors and members of the judiciary to read and follow the guidance.”

The document sets out a clear code of conduct for psychologists working in the court and quality of service expectations. It encourages all psychologists who work within the courts to ensure they are taking part in regular CPD and supervision.

The BPS has recently launched a new expert witness bundle of training on BPS Learn to support practitioner psychologists and give them the knowledge they need to fulfill the role of an expert witness.

The BPS is hosting the Advisory Groups’ annual Expert Witness conference on 7 September which will include discussion and reflections about the role of an expert witness from psychologists and the legal profession with High Court Judge The Honourable Mr Justice Williams QC on the panel.

 

The BPS has urged the family courts to follow its guidance on the use of psychologists as Expert Witnesses, calling the use of unregulated experts ‘damaging and dangerous'.
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
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