Children suffering following Family Breakdown

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Barnardos has said that children are getting lost in the emotional and legal turmoil following family separation and breakdown. They have called on the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, to make sure that his upcoming reform of the family law system puts the focus on children in separation cases and introduce a whole system of supports to help families deal with the upheaval of separation.

Fergus Finlay, Barnardos’ CEO, said that family separation can be a very painful and difficult process for children, especially when there is a lot of conflict between parents: All parents want what’s best for their children. But in the highly charged environment of family separation, children can sometimes get lost.”

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New Family Law Court System in the Offing

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Plans for a two-tier family court system staffed by specialist judges experienced in family law have been outlined by the Justice Minister, Alan Shatter. This will require a referendum in 2014.

A new two-tier system is being proposed.  A lower court would have jurisdiction over family law and childcare issues. The higher court would have unlimited jurisdiction over all family law matters, including adoption and child abduction.

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Minister for Justice’s Update

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Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD made some interesting points at the recent Annual Conference of the Law Society in Killarney. In his speech, he outlined changes to the Family Courts, discussed the proposed abolition of the Seanad and explained the rationale behind various bills that will pass through the Oireachtas during the remainder of 2013.

The Minister asserts “I am implementing a radical agenda for legal change and statutory reforms. In my address to you… I want to touch on a portion of the programme implemented so far and detail for you a part of the Justice and Law Reform agenda currently in the course of enactment and implementation… I will also touch on some issues as food for thought.”  Read more…

Childcare Reporting

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For the first time reports of court proceedings where children are taken into the care of the Health Service Executive (HSE) are being published. The Child Care Law Reporting Project will allow people to see for the first time why children end up in HSE care. The law currently prohibits the media from reporting on these cases.

A dedicated website will also publish regular reports from the courts that make orders under the Child Care Act. In this issue of Courts Service News, read more about the publication of these proceedings.

 

 

The Courts Bill 2013

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The Courts Bill 2013 makes important changes to the jurisdictions of Irish Court including raising the monetary limit in Circuit Court proceedings to €75,000. The Bill also alters the in camera rule which prevents the media from reporting family law cases.

The monetary jurisdiction limits of the Circuit Court and District Court have remained unchanged since 1991. The low level of jurisdiction in the Circuit Court means that very modest actions must, in the absence of agreement between the parties, be taken in the High Court with consequential higher legal costs arising. This is now set to change as outlined by the Department of Justice, Equality & Defence. Read more…