Petition to Parliament of Australia: Remove Advocates’ Immunity

From Charles Pragnell, Advisor to The National Council for Children Post-Separation:
 
“There are an increasing number of instances in the Family Courts where Court-appointed `Experts’, and lawyers are giving opinions on child abuse and mental health diagnoses for which they do not have the respective powers, and the relevant qualifications, training or experience. In many instances it is rather like asking an ambulance driver to comment on delicate heart surgery. (No disrespect is intended to ambulance drivers who do a fantastic job within their range of training and competence).Members of the respective professions related to child abuse and mental health are frequently concerned that the opinions given to Courts by such `Experts’, do not reflect the peer-reviewed research into such subjects or the prevailing collective views of such professions. They are therefore giving evidence which is outside of their area of expertise and competence and is unsupported by the relevant professional community. They also fail to say where theories may be a matter of dispute or contrary research findings.

The consequences of these `Experts’ opinions is often having a devastating influence on Family Court decisions regarding the care of and contact with children and in many instances the consequences for the children have been and are horrendous.

Currently these `Experts’ enjoy immunity from legal responsibility and accountability for their activities and it is not therefore possible to obtain redress against them for their maladroit actions and conduct.

This immunity of `Expert Witnesses has now been removed in the British Courts and it is long overdue that it was removed in the Australian Courts.

Below is a link to a petition to the Attorney General seeking for this immunity for Expert Witnesses to be removed.

 
Please consider adding your name and any comments you may wish to make to this petition and to sharing it with others.”
 

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