Second Opinions/critiques in the Family Courts<br />New Zealand Psychological Society Annual Conference<br />Rotorua, July...
Background to 1995 Guidelines<br />CSA case with six psychologists<br />Rise in requests for psychologists’ partisan repor...
Development of 1995 Guidelines<br />Draft prepared for NZPS conference<br />Presented at NZ “road show” 1996<br />Checked ...
2010 Survey<br />This revealed some of the same issues:<br />Overall a concern about critiques’ impact on professional rel...
Negative comments included <br />Concerns about the qualifications and expertise of the critiquing person<br />Not being i...
Other issues that emerged<br />Terminology <br />Lack of specific brief<br />Distinction between consultation with a lawye...
Code of Conduct for Expert Witnesses <br />How does our practice measure up to this document?<br />Demand for relevant com...
Other considerations<br />Code of Ethics as a guide to professional conduct<br />Supporting new practitioners <br />Assert...
Do the old Guidelines still apply?<br />They are no longer readily available <br />Generally they do hold up in terms of t...
1995 Guidelines emphasised principles of:<br />Being respectful of colleagues<br />Minimal intrusion on family members<br ...
Other key considerations in the 1995 guide<br />It is a right to have a critique done therefore there is a duty to coopera...
Access to notes and other materials<br />This defined in the 2006 Practice Note<br />All applications for release of notes...
Implications re access to notes <br />Don’t release notes unless there is a court order/direction that you have sighted<br...
Payment<br />Critique writer: avoid direct payment from client (use lawyer’s trust account)<br />Report writer: Unlikely t...
Comments/feedback to <br />f.seymour@auckland.ac.nz<br />s.blackwell@auckland.ac.nz<br />suzanne.blackwell@xtra.co.nz<br />
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Second opinions, critiques in the family courts, F Seymour

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Second opinions, critiques in the family courts, F Seymour

  1. 1. Second Opinions/critiques in the Family Courts<br />New Zealand Psychological Society Annual Conference<br />Rotorua, July 17-20, 2010<br />Professor Fred Seymour<br />Dr Suzanne Blackwell<br />
  2. 2. Background to 1995 Guidelines<br />CSA case with six psychologists<br />Rise in requests for psychologists’ partisan reports <br />Confusion about terms of engagement and obligation to cooperate<br />Undesirability of re-interviewing of children<br />Generation of bad feelings between psychologists<br />Realisation we were being dragged into an adversarial way of operating<br />
  3. 3. Development of 1995 Guidelines<br />Draft prepared for NZPS conference<br />Presented at NZ “road show” 1996<br />Checked with Judge Mahony<br />
  4. 4. 2010 Survey<br />This revealed some of the same issues:<br />Overall a concern about critiques’ impact on professional relationships<br />However positive comments about critiques done “correctly”<br />
  5. 5. Negative comments included <br />Concerns about the qualifications and expertise of the critiquing person<br />Not being informed a critique is being performed<br />Difficulties in being paid <br />Lack of clarity about access to notes <br />
  6. 6. Other issues that emerged<br />Terminology <br />Lack of specific brief<br />Distinction between consultation with a lawyer, and a critique report<br />Opportunity/right to see the critique report before the hearing<br />
  7. 7. Code of Conduct for Expert Witnesses <br />How does our practice measure up to this document?<br />Demand for relevant competence/expertise<br />Duty is to the court<br />Expectations that experts will confer if directed by the court<br />
  8. 8. Other considerations<br />Code of Ethics as a guide to professional conduct<br />Supporting new practitioners <br />Asserting our own manner of conduct rather than being manipulated by a system that is not of our design (inquisitorial v adversarial)<br />Best interests of the child principle <br />
  9. 9. Do the old Guidelines still apply?<br />They are no longer readily available <br />Generally they do hold up in terms of the High Court Rules (Code of Conduct)<br />
  10. 10. 1995 Guidelines emphasised principles of:<br />Being respectful of colleagues<br />Minimal intrusion on family members<br />Retained focus on best interests of child<br />Working as collaboratively as possible<br />
  11. 11. Other key considerations in the 1995 guide<br />It is a right to have a critique done therefore there is a duty to cooperate<br />To minimise the demand for critiques we should endeavour to produce competent reports in the first place <br />Critiques should be “controlled” by the court:<br />Needs a judicial direction on what data are to be released, to whom, and a specific relevant brief<br />
  12. 12. Access to notes and other materials<br />This defined in the 2006 Practice Note<br />All applications for release of notes shall be made to the Family Court<br />Privacy Act does not apply<br />A copy of the second opinion report will be given to the report writer appointed by the court<br />Generally notes and materials will not be released to Counsel<br />
  13. 13. Implications re access to notes <br />Don’t release notes unless there is a court order/direction that you have sighted<br />Don’t copy notes: have the psychologist attend your office<br />If meeting with the other psychologist, confine interactions to clarifications issues (wait for access to report before any discussion)<br />
  14. 14. Payment<br />Critique writer: avoid direct payment from client (use lawyer’s trust account)<br />Report writer: Unlikely to be paid by court (except for full second opinion) so ensure funds available (should be a disbursement of the critique writer and paid immediately)<br />
  15. 15. Comments/feedback to <br />f.seymour@auckland.ac.nz<br />s.blackwell@auckland.ac.nz<br />suzanne.blackwell@xtra.co.nz<br />

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