The Family Court may order a Single Expert Witness (SEW) to give independent expert evidence on what is best for the children in a Family Court dispute (Part 15, Division 5 of the Family Law Rules 2021(WA)).
A SEW is usually a highly qualified psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker with substantial experience in Family Court disputes. The appointed expert undertakes extensive interviews and analysis to provide a considered, professional opinion as to which arrangements are in the best interests of the children of the matter.
Mindstate Psychology's team comprises of some of the leading Single Experts in WA, who have extensive experience in the Family Court, legal assessment and report writing. You can find out more about our team here.
When a Single Expert is appointed, the court provides orders, appointing the practitioner as the Single Expert. Often included in these orders are the Terms of Reference for this report. This is a brief on what the Single Expert is to consider in completing their assessment. The Single Expert then conducts the assessment and writes a report. Included in this report will be the responses to the Terms of Reference. As each family court matter is different, each report will cover slightly different things. In some matters, psychological assessment may be included.
A Single Expert must be appointed by the court, with the Expert’s consent. Sometimes parties may agree to have an independent report done privately if the matter hasn’t yet become a family court matter. Usually, either the Independent Children's Lawyer (ICL) or one of the parties’ solicitors will consider asking the court to appoint a Single Expert. Both parties can agree to appoint a Single Expert, or the court may make an order to appoint a Single Expert if there is no agreement between the parties.
The Single Expert must consent to being appointed in a matter. For one of the psychologists at Mindstate Psychology to consider being appointed, we require the completion of our Single Expert Request form. This form helps us to determine whether the issues are within our expertise, ensure there are no conflicts of interest, and to provide a quote for completing the assessment and report.
To obtain a copy of the form please click here: Single Expert Request form. Completed forms can be submitted to [email protected]. A quote will be provided on return of a completed form. Note: All questions on the form must be answered.