Example of case instructions

All estimates are based on the following assumptions:

  •  individual being assessed speaks fluent English without marked sensory impairment; 
  •  individual being assessed attends as scheduled and is generally cooperative
     individual being assessed arrives with necessary aids if applicable (e.g. reading glasses,hearing aid)
  • total expected reading is no more than 300 pages; 
  •  Medical records are available, if relevant; and no highly specialised low frequency issues.

Should any of these assumptions be violated additional time is likely to be required.

It is erroneous to assume there is any economy of scale when multiple family members are included in an assessment. This adds complexity owing to the increased requirement for synthesis of additional data sources and potential conflicts therein.

A: Regulation/ accountabilityIs the practitioner psychologist currently registered with the HCPC and report their registration number and date of registration?If not, ask which code of conduct they operate within and to whom they are professionally accountable to(see Appendix 1).
Is the academic psychologist currently chartered with the BPS?
B: Protected titlesDoes the psychologist use one or more of the protected titles? (E.g. registered, practitioner, clinical, counselling, educational, forensic, occupational, health, sport and exercise, chartered.)If not, ask which, if any, protected title they are eligible to use
(see Appendix 1).
C: Competence as an expertDoes the psychologist demonstrate recent CPD specific to working as an expert witness in the Family Court in England and Wales and acknowledge the requirement for compliance with relevant FPR and PDs?If not, ask for more details (see Appendix 2 and 5.9–5.10).
Does the psychologist demonstrate broad experience and exposure to the matter of relevance to the Family Court?If not ask for more details (see 5.7).
D: Use of data gatherersDoes the psychologist state their intention to undertake all aspects of the work themselves?If no, ask for details of data gatherers used, their qualifications and status (see 5.12).
E: Use of psychometric assessmentsDoes the psychologist state their intention to use psychometric assessments that have specific restrictions? Have they confirmed their competence/qualifications in using such tests?If no, ask for details of likely tests, seek confirmation of eligibility and qualifications(see 5.13–5.15).
F: Supervision/ peer reviewDoes the psychologist state their intention to seek supervision and/or peer review in relation to work undertaken within the Family Court?If no, ask for details of supervisory and review processes in place (see Appendix 3).
G: Letter of instructionHas the psychologist’s view been sought with regard to the appropriateness of the questions posed in the Letter of Instruction? Have they confirmed their competence to answer them and agreed a sufficient time estimate?If not, initiate a dialogue regarding how to best achieve quality, sufficient and relevant questions. (see 4.8 and 5.6 and Appendix 4).
H: Compliance with legal requirementsHas the psychologist confirmed compliance with all relevant aspects of professional practice? (e.g. enhanced DBS, professional indemnity insurance, ICO registration).If not, ask for details (see 7.10–7.11).

Psychologists as expert witnesses in the Family Courts in England and Wales 33

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