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Expert Evidence

Often evidence is given by experts in family law proceedings. These experts can include, psychologists who can give evidence in relation to circumstances of adults and children in parenting matters, and registered valuers, who can be called upon to give an expert opinion as to the value of property or other items.

These experts usually give evidence by preparing a report providing their opinion.

In the recent case of Cord v Cord [2017] FamCA 235, the Court found that: “a failure to demonstrate that an opinion expressed by a witness is based on the witness’s specialised knowledge based on training, study or experience is a matter to the admissibility of the evidence…”

That is, for an expert’s evidence to be accepted, they need to demonstrate to the Court how their expertise enables them to form their opinion. If the expert cannot demonstrate that they have expertise in the area, from training, study or experience, then their evidence will not be taken into consideration by the Court.

The most common way an expert will demonstrate that they have the expertise to form their opinion, is by providing the Court with a copy of their CV, along with their report.

If you are considering providing expert evidence to the Court, it is important to ensure that the expert has the qualifications and experience required so that their evidence is considered properly by the Court.