Re: CB and JB (care proceedings: guidelines): FD 8 Apr 1998

The court gave guidelines for procedures at preliminary hearings in care cases, and as to psychiatric evidence: ‘(iv) Evidence of propensity or psychiatric or psychological assessment of one of the parties is unlikely to be of any assistance in resolving a purely factual issue. There will in any event be before the court evidence from the Local Authority and the parents relating to the history of the case and the backgrounds of each of the parents. A psychologist or psychiatrist instructed to undertake an assessment of a parent for the first stage of a split hearing is unlikely to have a complete knowledge of the facts.
(vi) Furthermore, such a witness may, as here, express opinions as to propensity or as to responsibility for a child’s injuries which are both prejudicial and wrong. The assessment of adult credibility as to the responsibility for a child’s injuries (often the critical factual issue) remains the function of the judge. In my judgment, therefore, a psychiatric or psychological assessment of the parties should not be permitted at the first stage of a split trial unless the particular facts of the case demonstrate that such evidence is or is likely to be directly relevant to the factual issue to be tried.’


Wall J


[1998] 2 FLR 211, [1998] EWHC Fam 2000




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedIn re LU (A Child); In re LB (A Child) (Serious Injury: Standard of Proof); re U (A Child) (Department for Education and Skills intervening) CA 14-May-2004
In each case, the other parent appealed care orders where she had been found to have injured her children. In each case the sole evidence was the injury to the child’s health and expert medical evidence. The cases were referred following the . .
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: 30 May 2022; Ref: scu.196919