John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Friday, May 09, 2008
  [2008] EWHC 802 (Fam) LEEDS CITY COUNCIL v Mr & Mrs YX
As part of my collection of important cases this is the one in respect of Mr Justice Holman and Leeds. This relates to the quality of expert evidence in abuse cases.

I wish only to stress, as that document does at paragraphs 1.2 and 1.13, the very great importance of including in any assessment every aspect of a case. Very important indeed is the account of the child, considered, of course, in an age appropriate way. An express denial is no less an account than is a positive account of abuse. It is also, in my opinion, very important to take fully into account the account and demeanour of the parents, and an assessment of the family circumstances and general quality of the parenting. The medical assessment of physical signs of sexual abuse has a considerably subjective element, and unless there is clearly diagnostic evidence of abuse (e.g. the presence of semen or a foreign body internally) purely medical assessments and opinions should not be allowed to predominate. Even 20 years after the Cleveland Inquiry, I wonder whether its lessons have fully been learned.
 
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