4 June 2019
Andrew Bridgen questions the ability of CAFCASS to act as an expert witness

Andrew Bridgen calls on the Minister to look at the use of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) as an expert witness, given that it has no training for that function, no guidelines, keeps no record of its recommendations and does not give sworn statements, so cannot be held to account for the recommendations it makes.

Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire) (Con)

In children’s matters in the family courts, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service is treated as an expert witness. Is the Minister aware that CAFCASS has no training for the function it performs, has no guidelines, keeps no record of its recommendations and does not give sworn statements, so cannot be held to account for the recommendations it makes?

Paul Maynard

I am grateful for that interesting perspective in my early days in the job. I will clearly have to go away and look at what CAFCASS says and does, and I look forward to meeting it. It is important to bear in mind that, in these cases, the interests of the child have to be paramount—the Children Act 1989 is very clear about that, and judges are clear in how they interpret that obligation.

Hansard