Evening Meeting - Abuse & Use of Experts


18:00 - 19:30

Tea served from 17:30

The Academy of Experts

Jo Delahunty QC is a leading family practitioner. On 8th May she will be sharing her experiences of the uses and abuses of Experts in court. 

Although mainly focusing on the family arena this meeting will be of interest to all experts as there now appears to be an increasing cross-over both in practice and regulation with a sharing of successful ideas across the differing systems (Civil/Criminal/Family etc). 

Experts and their evidence in the courts have been under the spotlight for a number of years. High profile cases in recent years, particularly in family matters, have cast doubts over the use of experts. 

The rising cost and use of expert evidence has resulted in the Family Justice Council reviewing the need for experts. On 31st January 2013 the Family Procedure Rules relating to expert evidence were amended to reflect their concerns and to limit the use of evidence. FPR 25.1 states:

“Expert evidence will be restricted to that which in the opinion of the court is necessary to assist the court to resolve the proceedings”. 

Experts in the civil arena are also being reviewed with some changes (including the Jackson Reforms) being implemented in April. 

Jo Delahunty QC

Jo Delahunty is a Queens Counsel at Four Paper Buildings.

Jo specialises in contentious and highly complex cases at High Court level and above involving allegations of severe child abuse. She is noted for her ‘sharp forensic eye and extraordinary memory ‘and her ability to ‘dissect extremely complex medical concepts with ease’. In a highly competitive and specialist silk field, Jo has gained a reputation for ‘formidable’ advocacy and tactical trial management. and has many recent successful reported cases to her credit and is able to move with forensic ease between highly specialized cross examination of medical experts in NAHI/ Inflicted death cases to sensitive cross examination of a child or vulnerable adult where allegations of sexual abuse arise . Jo has acted in legally significant cases in the court of appeal leading to guidance being given on the use and abuse of expert evidence.

Jo specialises in cases involving:

  • The death of/catastrophic injuries to a child (TRIAD cases)/Non Accidental Head Injury (NAHI)/Shaken baby allegations
  • Vitamin D/Rickets/gentic disorders and congential malformations affecting a child's potential vulnerability to injury 'Al Alas/Wray' ( JDQC acted for the mother) click here.
  • Sexual abuse (Intergenerational/ Inter sibling/ maternal rape/ genital mutilation/ internet exploitation
  • Ritualized child abuse/cultural practices
  • Fabricated Induced Illnes (FII) allegations
  • Diability of a child
  • Cases involving cross examination of a child or vulnerable adult
  • Child protection cases involving concurrent criminal prosecution for trafficking/ attempted murder/ child cruelty and neglect/ sex offences
  • Relitigation/ challenge to old findings of fact based on emerging science/ fresh factual evidence.