I'm worried that psychologist appointed by family court is biased

Discussion in 'Askaboutlaw' started by Curious Cat, Oct 27, 2016.

  1. Curious Cat

    Curious Cat Registered User

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    A psychologist has been appointed by the family law court to produce a section 47 report the second in six months.It has now come to my attention that the other party has been in contact with the psychologist and receiving advice and assurances without any input from me.Is this acceptable?
     
  2. elainem

    elainem Frequent Poster

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    590
    The other party should not be in contact with the psychologist outside of scheduled appointments. The psychologist should absolutely not be giving assurances to the other party. Have had experience with this many years ago with female psychologist. A psychologist can easily bias his/her report in this manner. Please look at British Pyshcological Society website or look up articles by them on what biases a Psychologist's report for family law. The British Pyschological Society were the first to run courses in writing Court reports for Family Law - I think you should take a look at their website or articles they have written on Court Reporting - you can even do Expert Witness Courses through them.
     
  3. DirectDevil

    DirectDevil Frequent Poster

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    Unless there was some very specifically justified or justifiable reason for this action it seems that the psychologist in question could be adversely criticised on grounds of objective bias.

    The concept of objective bias is quite well covered in the Supreme Court case of Kenny -v- Trinity College & Anr. 2007. Here is a link http://www.bailii.org/ie/cases/IESC/2007/S42.html

    The psychologist is not acting as a judge in the strict sense. However, as I understand the position there would be an expectation of independent objectivity in the witnesses evidence. So, would a reasonable person have a fairly formed fear that the evidence on which the court would rely would not be impartial ? If so, the general concept of objective bias might arise.

    Also, consider if there is a conflict of interest if views of an opposing party are being canvassed and or they are being advised by the psychologist. Much depends on the full facts of the situation.

    On the face of it, your solicitor might ask that the psychologist in question recuses themselves and that another is retained thus assuring the requisite objectivity.
     
  4. Curious Cat

    Curious Cat Registered User

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    Thanks for the replies.I read an article dated 2014 which indicated that this a common occurrence and there is very little hope of having the psychologist removed.I will however ask my solicitor to object if she can and I will contact the PSI if necessary.I expect a level playing pitch at the very least.
     
  5. Curious Cat

    Curious Cat Registered User

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    13
    I contacted the PSI as the psychologist was registered with them, I used the complaints procedure only to be told that if the psychologist is appointed by the court they cannot process the complaint. The PSI made the point that they were not in any way saying that I did not have a case. I think that this is a ridiculous situation
     
  6. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

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    7,319
    Do you know the nature of the advice and assurances given?
    If it was "Don't worry, it will be a fair and unbiased process" or "Don't worry, we listen to both parties and the children" then I don't see the issue.
    What is making you concerned?