A part 25 application is an application seeking permission for an expert to prepare an assessment or report.

When applying for an expert to prepare an assessment or report the Court would need to be satisfied that there is a gap in the evidence and that gap cannot be filled by any other way. When deciding whether to grant an application for an expert, in, pursuant to ‘FPR 2010 Part 25.1, the test is as to whether or not the evidence is ‘necessary in order to assist the court to resolve the proceedings’. The leading case to what is meant by necessary is RE H-L ( a child) [2013] EWCA Civ 655 where the president of the Family Division stated at 3: “ The short answer to that ‘necessary’ means necessary”…

A negative parenting assessment is always a disappointment to client and it can be difficult explaining to them that just because they do not like the outcome of an assessment does not mean that another one can be asked for. The Court needs to be satisfied that the current evidence before the Court is flawed; be that through inaccurate recording of information provided, has the social worker considered a parents support network, have they viewed contact etc. It may well be that these gaps can be filled by way of an addendum which will be a much quicker solution, and will lead to less of a delay for the child.

It’s a sensitive topic to approach with any parent, who will of course be disappointed if their parenting assessment does not recommend a child returning to their care and it is sometimes hard to explain that just because they do not like an assessment or the person preparing it, and what the law on such applications say!