South London woman calls for change after Croydon hearings

A woman involved in a family court case last year called on judges to establish whether a psychologist she raised concerns about was properly regulated.

The woman, who was involved in a dispute with her estranged husband over their children, won a fight to have the psychologist, who was appointed by a judge to carry out a family assessment, discharged from her case during hearings in Croydon, south London.

Details emerged as a judge in a separate case said family court judges need guidance on the definition of “a psychologist” to help avoid arguments over experts asked to provide reports about children at the centre of disputes.

District Judge Delia Coonan, who oversaw a case at family court hearings in Croydon, ruled that the psychologist involved could not be identified in media reports of the case.

The woman told Judge Coonan that her research showed the psychologist was not regulated.

Her estranged husband raised no objection to the psychologist.

Judge Coonan ruled that another expert should be appointed to carry out the assessment.

She did not make any findings about the psychologist.

Judge Coonan, who did not make the original decision to appoint the psychologist, said her decision to appoint another expert had been “pragmatic”.

She said she thought it better to have a report from an expert both parents were happy with.

The woman said her research showed that the psychologist was not registered with either the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) or the British Psychology Society (BSP), and was therefore not regulated.

Judge Coonan said the psychologist disputed the woman’s allegations.

She said the psychologist “relies on” membership of a body called the Academy of Experts.

The woman told the PA news agency after a hearing: “Judges should establish once and for all whether this psychologist is properly regulated.

“My research shows that this psychologist, who is paid public money to write reports which can have enormous effects on people’s lives, is not properly regulated.

“I don’t believe there’s a regulatory body which could properly deal with any complaint.

“Someone in authority should establish whether I’m right.

“Other parents have a right to know. It’s a matter of public interest.”

Have you got a story for us? You can contact us here.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.

Sign up to our newsletters to get updates sent straight to your inbox.

Recommended For You