We are delighted to be able to confirm that Professor Ireland, the author of the controversial 2012 report on expert witnesses which Researching Reform supported and endorsed, has been cleared of all wrongdoing by the Health and Care Professions Council. Professor Ireland is a forensic psychologist at the University of Central Lancashire.
The damning study revealed serious concerns about the quality of expert evidence used inside the Family Court and suggested that around 20% of psychologists acting as expert witnesses were not properly qualified. The report went on to show that two-thirds of expert witnesses in family courts were ‘poor’ and that the absence of clinical practice among expert witnesses posed challenges for the courts.
The report was well received by campaigners and reformers and gained widespread attention in the media. The medical profession’s response was predictably defensive, and the sector chose to launch a campaign discrediting the report and Professor Ireland’s fitness to practice. In May 2016, an eight point charge sheet was produced which suggested that Professor Ireland’s claims were not supported by the data provided and that her conclusions were unsubstantiated.
Every single charge was dismissed by the Council.
Researching Reform would like to congratulate Professor Ireland for her courage and determination, and we will continue to support her work, which is robust and thought provoking.