Family Courts Bill Summit | Safeguarding Family Justice

12 April 2024

17 April | 11 am | The Alex Hotel

The Bar of Ireland alongside The Family Lawyers Association welcome you to register and attend the Family Courts Bill Summit next Wednesday, 17 April in the Alex Hotel Dublin 2.

The Family Courts Bill (2022) | Our Case for Concern

The Family Courts Bill (2022) is currently before the Houses of the Oireachtas and will form an intrinsic part of the reform of the family justice system.

The Bar of Ireland and The Family Lawyers Association are generally supportive of the Bill, but have strong concerns about the proposed reorganisation of jurisdiction for the hearing of family law proceedings.

Under this proposal, most of the divorce, judicial separation and co-habitation cases will be heard and disposed of in the Family District Court. This is not in the best interest of families who find themselves in a vulnerable state and experiencing relationship and marital breakdown and will ultimately create a two-tier family justice system.

In order to protect the rights and interests of all families who interact with the family justice system, there is a need to amend the Bill so as to remove altogether the proposal for contested family law proceedings to be dealt with by the District Court.

Hear from Practitioners in Family Law

In addition to hearing from experts in the area of family law, the results of a survey conducted by members of the Family Lawyers Association on this issue will be launched at the Summit.

The Summit will be moderated by Ingrid Miley BL and will include a panel discussion with:

  • Sara Phelan SC, Chair of the Council of The Bar of Ireland
  • Paul McCarthy SC, Chair of The Family Lawyers Association of Ireland
  • Keith Walsh SC, Manager of Keith Walsh Solicitors
  • Caroline Counihan BL Legal Support Manager, Safe Ireland clg

A family law practitioner speaks on the ramifications of shifting complex family law matters to the District Court:

The financial implications & ramifications of marital breakdown are generally the most significant financial decisions a person /couple will ever have to address. The outcome dictates the quality of their life for the rest of their life. These decisions impact the ability of a family to move forward as a unit in a different form. The District Court does not have the time, facilities & capabilities to enable people to properly deal with & address the life long decisions they need to be made.

Amongst the attendees will be interested parties from the political, NGO, media and family justice sectors, including barristers and solicitors. As places are limited for this in-person only summit, please RSVP below to secure your place and to receive a copy of our submission.