Re A (Non-Accidental Injury: Medical Evidence); Re C-F (a child) (retinal haemorrhages: non-accidental injury): FD 12 Jan 2001

The court recognised the need to reflect current medical knowledge in practice on child abuse cases: ‘the frontiers of medical science are constantly being pushed back and that the state of knowledge is increasing all the time. That is why I find that when presented with a speculative theory based on an unlikely hypothetical base an expert will rarely discount it and will in effect never say never. Fanciful speculation is not an appropriate method of inquiry. What is needed and what the experts have done in this case is to piece together all the available information and look at the differential diagnosis. Many of the experts in this case specialise within a particular and very narrow field and by reason of being experts of referral at centres of excellence they acquire special knowledge and skill. However, concentration on a very narrow area of expertise can sometimes render it difficult for the expert to see the whole picture.’


Bracewell J


[2001] EWHC Fam 5, [2001] 2 FLR 657, [2001] 3 FCR 262, [2001] Fam Law 735




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedLancashire County Council v R (A Minor) and others FD 4-Dec-2008
The local authority sought a care order, alleging serious physical abuse of the child. The mother said that any injuries had been inflicted by the father. The father said that the cause was the mother.
Held: The injuries were not likely to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 09 July 2022; Ref: scu.263379