Bowen & Williams 2015 FamCA 545

A mother wanted to relocate and submitted that she experienced a psychological condition that would be alleviated if she were permitted to relocate.  The mother submitted that her level of distress was such that she had on occasions contemplated, and even planned, her suicide, in the event that she was not able to relocate.  The mother arranged for a report from a psychiatrist based on instructions given solely by the mother’s solicitor.  The father objected to the admissibility of the psychiatric report.

The judge noted that the psychiatrist had never had a therapeutic relationship with the mother and was not her therapist.

The parties then agreed to the appointment of a single expert who prepared a report.

The judge ruled that a report of any expert apart from a single expert witness must be subject to an application for permission under division 15.5.3.  The judge ruled there was no inconsistency between consenting to the appointment of a single expert, and still retaining the right to seek to tender a report that had been previously obtained.

The judge found that both experts agreed that the mother had experienced an episode of major depression.  The single expert opined that, in the event that the mother was delayed from relocating for a further six to twelve months but thereafter could permanently relocate, the mother “would not suffer the deterioration associated with an order preventing her permanent relocation.”

The Court declined permission to enter into evidence the affidavit of the psychiatrist instructed by the mother’s solicitors.