At the time that we wrote our article on what we felt would be the implications of the new measures on expert reports in the family courts, we had not had a chance to look at the Practice Direction in full, (Practice Direction 25a, which supplements FPR 25) which details these new measures and had only had a chance to look at a summary of the new measures.
But judging by what’s contained in the Practice Direction it seems that our fears may well be confirmed. More work for lawyers who will need to pin-point issues with relevant experts (and indeed more expert input prior to making and filing reports, so more work for everyone all round even if only one report is eventually chosen), more judicial input (which may or may not be a bad thing depending on the judge in question), and more scope for making applications not just on who may be chosen to be the expert but upon which issues and whether they are ‘necessary’ to resolve the case before the courts.
Of course, the term ‘necessary to resolve the case’ has been left open-ended, with no break down of what the phrase actually means. To an English speaker, the phrase itself must seem straightforward, but in reality, the term is more a Legalese one, and may well encompass notions of time, money, resources and other subjective notions of what is and isn’t necessary (at the hands of judges, interested expert parties and others).
Please have a read through of the new Practice Direction if you have a moment, and tell us, are we over-reacting? Do you agree with our perspective? All thoughts welcome.