Appointment of the expert
As noted above the qualifications of an expert to perform a “voice of the child report” are prescribed under law. In the first instance, in the absence of a Judge taking the lead and determining what expert to appoint, it is a matter for both parties to agree and propose to the Court an expert who meets the requirements of the Regulations.
A solicitor acting on behalf of a legally aided person may not agree to the appointment of an expert who does not meet the requirements of the Regulations as this is a condition attached to the grant of legal aid. However it may be that the parties fail to agree such an expert or a situation otherwise arises where there is a question about the qualifications of the proposed expert. In such circumstances the solicitor should explain clearly to the legally aided person:
- that the appointment of such a person to carry out a report will not be covered by the grant of legal aid;
- that they will be personally liable for the their share of the costs of such a report.
and take instructions accordingly. If necessary the solicitor should make submissions to the Court regarding the proposed appointment.