John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Thursday, August 08, 2013
  Experts must be Neutral (LASHIN v. RUSSIA)
This case which was in the European Court of Human Rights was recently pointed out to me.

Paragraph 87 states:
The Court reiterates that where the opinion of an expert is likely to play a decisive role in the proceedings, as in the case at hand, the expert’s neutrality becomes an important requirement which should be given due consideration. Lack of neutrality may result in a violation of the equality of arms guarantee under Article 6 of the Convention (see, mutatis mutandis, Sara Lind Eggertsdóttir v. Iceland, no. 31930/04, § 47, 5 July 2007, with further references). In the Court’s opinion an expert’s neutrality is equally important in the context of incapacitation proceedings, where the person’s most basic rights under Article 8 are at stake.
It is, of course, obvious that this is the case under UK law. However, assessments by employees of the local authority continue to be relied upon in family court cases of all sorts. There is additionally the repeat player prejudice problem with the joint appointment of experts. It is, however, important to remember that an assessment by a social worker who deems that grandparents in their 50s are too old to care for a baby is an experts report that must have neutrality.

 
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