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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Child psychiatry and child protection litigation

Julia Brophy

Price: £20.00

College members' price: £18.00

Published: Oct 2001

Format: hardback

Number of pages: 134

ISBN: 9781901242669

What do the courts require of a clinical expert in child and adolescent psychiatry?

How can clinical expert opinion be developed to improve family justice?
In the decade following the Children Act 1989 two issues have emerged as indisputable. First, care proceedings are a multi-disciplinary exercise and second, child and adolescent psychiatrists are key players providing the majority of expert evidence. This book is based upon a study that is the first to analyse and digest the views and practice of these clinicians after more than a decade's experience with the Children Act.
The text examines the Act itself and what courts require of experts; the institutional and contractual base from which these clinicians approach medico-legal work; their own views of their added value to proceedings; and how this field of work should be taken forward, both by the family justice system and by the clinical community.
In a policy environment in which multi-disciplinary and multi-agency approaches to child abuse and neglect are vital and where evidence-based practice increasingly dictates clinical approaches, this book provides vital information for setting a new agenda for current practice and future policy developments. It addresses complex and controversial issues in this field and the text will be central to future education and training initiatives for:
  • new and established child and adolescent psychiatrists
  • lawyers, and academics in law, social work and socio-legal studies
  • judges, magistrates and court clerks
  • guardians and court welfare officers in CAFCASS
  • social workers, team managers and heads of children and families services in local authorities.

Features of this volume include:

  • a thorough examination of the Children Act 1989
  • detailed discussion of what the courts require of a clinical expert
  • discussion of how clinical opinion can be developed to improve family justice


  • List of tables, boxes and figures
  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction

1. The Children Act 1989: a new landscape for the work of expert witnesses

2. NHS structures and contracts: the context in which child psychiatrists meet the needs set by care proceedings

3. The bearers of gifts? What do child psychiatrists consider they bring to child care proceedings?

4. The new legal agenda: those ‘on the receiving end’

5. A new clinical agenda: challenges for child protection litigation
6. Child psychiatrists and the family justice system: a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency agenda

  • Appendix
  • References
  • Index


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