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2. Family law matters

2.14. Single expert reports

If any party to the proceedings is legally aided, the Independent Children's Lawyer must obtain prior approval from Legal Aid NSW before seeking a Single Expert Report in accordance with the following guidelines.

2.14.1 When requests for expert reports will be considered

Requests for expert reports will be considered at the conclusion of the following court events:

  • in Family Court matters, after the first Less Adversarial Trial (LAT) hearing event
  • in Family Court Magellan matters, upon release of the Magellan Report
  • in Federal Circuit Court matters, upon a matter being set down for final hearing
  • in Family Court matters at an interim stage but only if Legal Aid NSW is satisfied there are exceptional circumstances; or
  • upon a recommendation being made by a Family Consultant or other court appointed expert that a report prepared by a psychiatrist or other appropriately qualified expert is required.

2.14.2 Obtaining approval for an expert report

Approval for the obtaining of an expert report will be considered in matters where:

  • there are allegations of child abuse
  • there are issues of significant psychiatric or psychological illness or personality disorder
  • there is a specific issue that needs to be considered by an appropriately qualified expert, for example substance abuse or cultural factors that are beyond the scope or expertise of a court appointed Family Consultant; or
  • the Director Family Law or the Director Grants is satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist.

2.14.3 Supporting information required when requesting a report

Any application for the funding of an expert report will need to be supported by:

  • a summary of any allegations or issues identified in guideline 2.15.2;
  • an outline of all steps taken to ensure evidence of the matters proposed to be covered in the expert report have already been taken, for example, issuing subpoenas, obtaining authorities to speak to treating medical personnel such as psychologists obtained and acted upon; and
  • confirmation of an available expert who is prepared to undertake the report at the Legal Aid fee rate.

2.14.4 Approval for updated expert reports

Requests for updates of expert reports will only be approved when it can be demonstrated that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the report was released.

2.14.5 Costs for expert reports where a party is not legally aided

If any party to the proceedings is not legally aided, the independent children's lawyer must:

  • seek an order from the Court that the parties to the proceedings pay the costs of obtaining the Single Expert's report, and ensure that the parties pay the costs before ordering the report.

Note: In most circumstances, Legal Aid NSW is only able to fund the share of a party who is legally aided. Consideration will be given to funding a non legally aided party's share if exceptional circumstances exist.  In determining whether exceptional circumstances exist, Legal Aid NSW will consider the financial capacity of the party to pay for his/her share of the report and any recommendations made by judicial officers.

Date Last Published: 30/01/2017