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Psychological expert opinion is unreliable in at least 65% of cases in three courts

The link is to the detailed study on the University of Central Lancashire website.

It is important research because it looks at the details of the psychological reports in 126 out of 180 cases in three courts.

Obviously this does not read through to the national position precisely, but it gives a good guide.

Many of the things revealed about the reports would indicate that the expert involved would be struck off. 65% of the reports were "poor" or "very poor". This means really that they should not have been part of the trial.

It raises an automatic question as to the reliability of the judgment in 65% of cases. Actually the position is even worse as it appears that 90% of the reports are by people who make their living out of writing reports for the family courts rather than by people who practise psychology.

The inherent conflict of interest for people who need to keep getting instructions in the family court is something I have mentioned before, but is ignored by the judiciary.

What is unusual about this is that it is a report commissioned by "the system" and is a reliable dataset that gives a read through. It is not mere anecdote.

It does not surprise me that although the report was available for publication in September 2011 it was not published until February 2012. Clearly there are people who would have wished to bury the report without trace and keep it secret. Happily for people who wish the system to have integrity this has not happened.


Jake Maverick said…
my only problem with what you say there is

"it is a report commissioned by "the system" and is a reliable dataset"

damn, these poxymorons do make me laugh soemtimes! i do suspect you know better...
SarahN said…
The report has not been published properly as yet. It has therefore not been peer reviewed as a properly published article would have been.
john said…
How do you know that it has not been reviewed?

It has, in fact, had two reviews.
SarahN said…
When i say peer review I mean the sort of rigorous apporach that is used before a professional journal decides to publish a research article. This looks at methodology, and the statistical analysis of the results among other things. Has this been carried out and by who?

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