What is Part 25 Application?
The Part 25 application is not the most popular or talked-about area of family law. In financial remedy and children cases, most litigants submit an application for expert assessment under Part 25 of the Family Procedure Rules. The term ‘Part 25 Application’ often comes up when divorcing couples are resolving financial and child custody disputes.
In simple terms, the Part 25 Application is made to the court to seek permission for an expert or professional to prepare a report or assessment. Expert assessments or reports are ordered by the court as part of financial or children proceedings.
For this purpose, an expert is someone who provides expert evidence and prepares the report which is essential to conclude the court proceedings. Experts for this type of application include pension actuaries, social workers, valuation experts, consultant psychiatrists, consultant psychologists, consultant paediatricians, and healthcare professionals.
If the court orders an expert to assist on matters within their expertise to resolve proceedings, they have to comply with the duties outlined within Practice Direction 25B. The expert is bound to provide an accurate assessment to the court without being influenced by the person who is paying the professional.
Applying For Part 25 Application
A litigant can apply for the formal Part 25 Application together with various documents to back up the application. In the application seeking permission for an expert report, the applicant can state why an expert assessment is required and the details of the proposed expert.
The supporting documents include the proposed expert’s CV, details of expert fees, the list of questions for the expert, and the letter of instruction. If the Part 25 Application is approved, the expert must submit a written report unless the court directs otherwise.
The expert does not have to attend the court proceedings, however, the court may allow them to attend the hearing under special circumstances.
What Does the Court Consider?
Not all Part 25 applications are approved and the court will only permit expert evidence if it is necessary to conclude the proceeding and reach a fair outcome. The court will consider the following factors to decide whether or not to grant permission for the Part 25 Application:
- The impact of expert assessment on the welfare and mental well-being of the child;
- The issues requiring expert evidence, for instance, pension sharing, property valuation, parenting assessment, etc
- How would the assessment or examination would help the court to resolve the proceedings
- Existing expert evidence obtained before or after the start of the proceedings
- Whether or not another person can give evidence that the expert is expected to provide
- The impact of expert evidence on the length and conduct of the court proceedings
- Expert evidence costs
Given that the process of seeking permission for expert evidence is complex, it is wise to seek legal advice to know whether or not the litigant would be given permission for the Part 25 Application.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Connaught Law and authors accept no responsibility for loss that may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Connaught Law. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Connaught
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