The Family Courts Bill, published on the 1st December 2022, at the same time as the first Family Justice Strategy, aims to overhaul and modernise the Family-Justice System. In this article, we summarise the new bill.
A more efficient and user-friendly Family Court System is to be provided which will make the best interests of the child a primary consideration in all Family Law Proceedings, encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution where possible, facilitate access to specialist supports and promote an effectual and expeditious case management practice in an effort to minimise costs for families involved.
Family Courts Bill
The Bill proposes the establishment of a new dedicated Family High Court, a Family Circuit Court and a Family District Court appointing Judges with suitable training and experience, on a full-time basis to each of the Family Court divisions.
New positions of Principal Judge of the Family High Court, Family Circuit Court and Judge of the Family District Court will be created to ensure proper and effective management of each Court.
In addition, a purpose-built Family Law Court complex at Hammond Lane, Dublin will be constructed where Family Law cases can be held separately with a range of support services being provided at the complex.
An aim of the Bill is that legislation will enable a greater proportion of non-contentious Family Law matters to be dealt with at District Court level thus minimising costs for the parties involved. In addition, the Bill will allow for Joint Applications to be made for Judicial Separation, Divorce, and Dissolution of Civil Partnership thereby supporting Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution in such cases.
A dedicated Family Law Rules Committee or alternatively, a Family Law Subcommittee of the general Courts Rules Committee will be established to ensure that the Rules of the Court in relation to Family Law proceedings are coherent and consistently applied across all levels of the Family Courts.
The Bill provides a set of guiding principles that the Courts, Legal Practitioners and parties to Family Law proceedings will be required to have regard to. For more information in respect of the Family Courts Bill and the Family Justice Strategy, please click here.
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This article does not constitute legal advice and serves as an informative summary. For legal advice, get in touch with our team who will be happy to assist.
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