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Mini Pupillage Scheme

The mini pupillage scheme for those considering a role as an Expert Witness in the family courts has operated in the Family Division of the High Court for some time. In more recent years, it has been overseen by the Secretariat of the Family Justice Council. A new development within the FJC, Experts in the Family Justice System (EFJS), aims to support the development and availability of experts through various means, including national and regional training and networking events. In response to this work the mini-pupillage scheme has been widened in scope to include a range of professionals whose expertise the family courts rely on.  The scheme now includes circuit judges and my include district judges to provide a greater choice of dates, cases and locations.

Early career doctors and psychologists are the expert witnesses of the future, and as part of their professional development they benefit greatly from experience of court proceedings. To assist them in gaining this experience, arrangements can be made for them to sit with a Judge of the High Court, a Circuit Judge or a District Judge either at hearings in which relevant expert evidence is expected to be given or, if they wish, in other family hearings.

Those engaging in the mini-pupillage scheme usually spend a day with a Judge, sitting in court observing expert medical / psychological witnesses giving evidence. This provides them with some knowledge of the court process, and this live experience can alleviate some of the anxieties that they may have about giving evidence and being cross examined.

For further information about the scheme and if you wish to participate, please contact: fjc@justice.gov.uk