This book, now updated in a second edition to take account of recent changes in the law relating to experts, is very useful for those practising in children law. While particularly suitable for public lawyers, it would also benefit those who deal with complex private law proceedings.

The author is a chartered clinical psychologist and focuses on the psychologist’s role in family proceedings. I found her description of how a psychologist undertakes their work – and thus what we should expect from a comprehensive assessment – enlightening. The book contains sections clearly defining psychological disorders, and an analysis of the impact of different sorts of harm on the psychological development of children. As lay people, when it comes to psychological concepts, it is helpful to look up ‘conduct disorder’ or ‘avoidant’, for example, and find a clear description of a diagnosis.

There is also a section on different sorts of therapies, including those which can be used to treat personality disorders (sometimes described as untreatable). While the busy practitioner is likely to use this book for reference, it provides much more and enables the reader to gain an appreciation of both normal and abnormal development and behaviour patterns.

Author: CL van Rooyen

Publisher: Jordan Publishing (£60)

There is a comprehensive section on childhood sexual abuse, but I was disappointed that the section on risk did not explore how risk can be assessed in cases where there is evidence of the use of child pornography without any evidence of actual sexual abuse. The growth of the internet has taken us into new fields; perhaps the third edition might consider this difficult area.

Notwithstanding the efforts to reduce reporting by experts to avoid costs and delay, an understanding of psychological concepts and the contribution which can be made to a case by those with psychological expertise is essential knowledge for children lawyers.

Katherine Gieve is a senior consultant in the family department at Bindmans