Understanding the Family Court if you’re not an expert witness – a session for clinicians of all grades

Judge Mark Sutherland Williams, Dr Joan Rutherford, Dr Stephanie Tolan, Mrs Jenny Cross

75 minutes


June 2022



This training is for clinicians who wish to know more about the workings of the Family Court. The session will explore issues such as the rising rates of mental disorders in children and young people, are rising, and cover examples of cases that overlap between paediatric and mental health services, especially out of hours. it's important to note that parents with serious mental disorders can and do make excellent parents. Delegates will be encouraged to reflect in-action on the potential experience of all participants – parent, children, professionals and the Judiciary in a Court setting.By the end of the session, delegates will have:

• more awareness of issues that arise within family settings relevant to adults with mental disorders

• had an opportunity to consider family consequences for children and young people who have physical and/or mental disorders

• more knowledge about the work of the Family Court

• been given information about where to source Expert Witness training This session is not intended to be Expert Witness training.

Chair: Judge Mark Sutherland Williams, Chamber President of the Health, Education and Social Care Chamber in England

How mental disorders in adults, children and young people come to the attention of the Family Court, and how they present - Dr Joan Rutherford, Chief Medical Member Mental Health Tribunal in England and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist South London and Maudsley NHS Trust

How physical disorders in children and young people come to the attention of the Family Court and the overlap between paediatric services and child and adolescent mental health services - Dr Stephanie Tolan, Member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, MA in Medical Ethics and Law, King’s College London

How issues about bonding and attachment present in Family Court and the type of assessments required by the Court parenting skills - Mrs Jenny Cross JP CQSW, Specialist Lay Member of the Mental Health Tribunal, and Member JP and CQSW

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