Consultation on pilot to instruct experts in the family proceedings court

Consultation opened on 13 March 2020. Closing date 08 May 2020.


The Department of Justice (DOJ) is conducting a consultation exercise on a proposal for a pilot allowing experts to be appointed without prior authority for legal aid in public law Children Order cases in the Family Proceedings Court.


Consultation description

The Proposals have two key objectives.  They are designed to standardise hourly rates, but also to speed up access to justice by allowing the instruction of experts without the need for legal aid approval for routine cases.

Public law Children Order cases arise when a Health and Social Care Trust or other public body has intervened to protect a child from harm.

Expert evidence is often of significant benefit to the Judiciary in making its decisions which are of fundamental importance to the child and the family in the case before the courts.  Often the experts are able to advise of interventions which will help parents, or other family members, and address shortcomings in their parenting skills with the best outcomes for the child/children and the family. 

It is important for the children and families in those proceedings that the proper interventions are made in a timely manner and speedy access to expert reports will assist this. 

The Department would welcome views on the proposals and this consultation will run for a period of eight weeks from 16th March 2020. 

All responses should be submitted by 2pm on 8 May 2020.

Responses should be submitted to


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