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Sussex Expert Assessment Pilot

shutterstock_102473987Christine Tizzard Psychology has a commitment to providing a high quality expert witness psychology services. The organisation is committed to working within the terms of The Sussex Expert Assessment Pilot launched in April 2013. Under the direction of Consultant Psychologist Christine Tizzard many of the principles of the pilot have been applied as best practice within its family law expert witness provision since 2007.

The objectives of the pilot launched by the Sussex Family Justice Board are to promote family justice by achieving:-

      • Shorter timescales to report stage
      • Enhanced and more consistent quality of experts reports
      • Reports from the right discipline and only those which are necessary
      • Less cost to the family justice system
      • Less time spent in identifying experts
      • Earlier instructions to experts following the issue of proceedings
      • Higher quality and more focused instruction to experts
      • Less time and bureaucracy to achieve legal aid funding
      • Enhanced understanding arising from greater feedback in all directions

Our adherence to the objectives is met by the following protocols:

Christine Tizzard Psychology will ensure that a report is filed with the instructing solicitors by the required deadline to enable all processes to be conducted within the 26 week rule.

All appointments with parties to be assessed will be made promptly once the court bundle is received and confirmation of appointments sent to instructing solicitors.

Christine Tizzard Psychology recognises that filing within these strict parameters is critical to the effectiveness of the total process and that failure to comply jeopardises the entire programme which ultimately causes unacceptable delay to children.

In the event of non-compliance of parents to offered appointments, the lead solicitor will be notified at any early stage. Similarly where an unforeseen difficulty arises on the expert’s part, the instructing solicitor will be notified at an early stage. The commitment to produce reports within a 4 to 6 week time frame allows for unforeseen emergencies to not impact and jeopardise the process.

Specifically;

1)       All enquiries made of Christine Tizzard Psychology are responded to fully within 24 hours.

This response will include expert availability and experience, (CV), availability of filing date and an estimate of costs. These estimates will be within LSC guidelines for rates and include a breakdown of actual hours anticipated on a case.

2)       No report would involve a time frame longer than eight weeks and where possible all effort will be made to report in normally between 4 and 6 weeks. Any supplementary questions will be replied to promptly within the specified time. Court availability of an expert will be available at all times by telephone or email.

3)       All experts have in excess of five years’ experience as an expert witness in their area of speciality.

All practice continuous CPD.

All engage in regular supervision

All hold current registration with their membership body (HCPC)

All hold current CRB and indemnity insurance.

4)      All experts work only in their area of expertise and currently remain employed in this area. An expert will not accept an instruction where practice is not appropriate to the issue that the court seeks guidance to.

Any conflict of interest will be disclosed as soon as it becomes apparent.

5)       All experts have appropriate training where statutory regulation is not required.

6)       All experts have completed comprehensive court skills training and regularly attend updating courses in this area.

7)       Christine Tizzard Psychology operates a feedback system across its clinical and mediation services and uses received feedback within supervision as a way of continually maintaining and improving quality standards.

It is also possible for assessments to be carried out at our clinical offices south of Chichester, West Sussex. The clinic also has a fully equipped NACC affiliated contact centre where observation of contact may take place if required.

Christine Tizzard Psychology is committed to using video link for court appearances where possible to avoid unnecessary travel costs and uses various courts and barristers’ chambers in the south of England to facilitate this.

www.sussexfamilyjusticeboard.org.uk