Newsnight on 9 Dec 2013
BBC Newsnight’s Sanchia Berg investigates whether expert witnesses will refuse to continue appearing in court, because the money they’re paid to do so has been cut by the government.
I tried to make the point that it is not just the hourly rate of payment but the fact that the Legal Aid Agency is restricting the number of hours that an expert is allowed to spend. For example 20 hours on the assessment of a complicated family. And that some good experts are saying that it is not possible to do the work properly and it would be unethical to agree to take the referral.
I also mention a recent case where I was for a mother and the social workers wanted to separate her from her baby. The baby was 10 day and had been cared for very well by her in hospital and was breastfeeding. The court ordered them to go into a mother and baby assessment centre, a form of expert witness, where she was doing very well.