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Microscope on myriad updates in family law landscape
Solicitor and senior counsel Geoffrey Shannon of the Law Society

12 Nov 2019 / famiily law Print

Microscope on myriad updates in family law

The 2019 Family and Child Law Conference on 22 November at Blackhall Place will examine recent developments in core areas of family law and practice and childcare law practice.

Practitioners will gain a concise and essential overview of the many recent developments and the implications for day-to-day client advice and practice and procedure.


This conference has been designed by family and childcare law practitioners for their colleagues in the profession.

Topics and issues to be covered include:

  • Family and child law update – pitfalls in practice, a judicial perspective,
  • Presidency of the District Court – highlights of the past seven years,
  • Case law update – a practitioner’s perspective,
  • GDPR and the family law practitioner,
  • Working with families in distress.


Practice update will cover:

The chair for the day will be solicitor Dr Geoffrey Shannon, chair of the Adoption Authority of Ireland, child law expert and former special rapporteur on child protection for the Irish government from 2006 to July 2019.


Dr Shannon (main picture) has recently been asked by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and the Council of Europe to assist as a child protection expert in drafting new guidelines on cybercrime for judges, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies.

Dr Shannon is the recipient of several awards for his work in the area of national and international family law. 

These include the 2005 JCI Outstanding Person of the Year Award, the 2006 Canon Maurice Handy Award and the 2013 Irish Law Award.  On 23 June 2017, Dr Shannon was presented with the Dublin Solicitors Bar Association Award for outstanding contribution to legal scholarship for his entire work to date.

Speakers include:

  • Judge Colin Daly, President of the District Court, who was enrolled as a solicitor in 1997. From 2001-2012 he was the managing solicitor at Northside Community Law Centre (now Community Law & Mediation (CLM) Northside) where he worked in public interest and human rights law. He was appointed as a Judge of the District Court in June, 2012 as a moveable judge and worked for over two years at the Children Court.   He was assigned to District 22 Carlow/Kilkenny in 2015 and in July 2019 was appointed as President of the District Court,
  • Judge Rosemary Horgan, Adjunct Professor of Law and formerly a partner at Ronan Daly Jermyn solicitors, where she practised for many years in all areas of family law. She lectured on family law issues and was a consultant to the Law Society of Ireland on family law. She was a member of the Law Society's Family Law and Civil Legal Aid Committee and Law Reform Committee. Judge Horgan was also a member of the Editorial Board of the Irish Journal of Family Law and co-authored The Divorce Act in Practice: Family Law Practitioner published by Round Hall Sweet & Maxwell. Judge Horgan served on the Legal Aid Board (including as Chairperson) from 1980 to 1998. She was appointed to the District Court in 2011 and appointed as President of the Court in 2012,
  • Dr Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children. The Ombudsman for Children's Office (OCO) deals with complaints by, or on behalf of, young people about public bodies such as the Heath Service Executive, schools, voluntary hospitals and children's prisons. The OCO has also carried out key research into issues in St Patrick's Institution, a former prison for young offenders,
  • Gerard Durcan, senior counsel who practices in the area of family and child care law,
  • Cathal Ryan, assistant commissioner, Data Protection Commission (DPC) and a qualified lawyer with significant commercial, litigation and regulatory experience. Having begun his legal career with the Legal Aid Board, Cathal now heads up the Supervision and Engagement Unit within the DPC,
  • Dr Nicola O’Sullivan, Partner, Caidreamh Family & Practitioner Assessment & Therapeutic Services, who holds a diploma and degree in social science in youth and community work from University College Cork, and a Masters in child protection and welfare from Trinity College Dublin.
  • Joan O’Mahony, O’Mahony Solicitors, Dublin, a sole practitioner and a member of the Family Law Committee of the Law Society,
  • Keith Walsh, Keith Walsh Solicitors, Dublin, who specialises in litigation and family law work and has published a number of articles on divorce and separation and reform of the family law courts in the Law Society Gazette and the Parchment,
  • Gareth Noble, (small picture) partner, KOD Lyons, Solicitors, Dublin, who is recognised as one of Ireland’s leading litigators in the area of children with disabilities. He has successfully represented many families in challenging the law in respect of Domiciliary Care Allowances, Carer’s Allowance and services for children in education and early assessment of their needs and service provision. Gareth also acts in education law cases for children and families in respect of school bullying, school admissions, disciplinary issues and other educational law entitlements,
  • Helen Coughlan, partner, Patrick J Farrell & Co. Solicitors, who qualified as a solicitor in 2004.  Helen studied law in University College Cork and obtained a first-class honours BCL degree in 1999.  She trained with Matheson Ormsby Prentice, Solicitors, in Dublin. Her areas of practice include family law, medical negligence, employment law, and personal injury litigation. Helen is an experienced family lawyer and a qualified family mediator,
  • Sinéad Kearney, partner, Byrne Wallace, Solicitors, Dublin, who is head of the health services team at ByrneWallace and has over 30 years' experience in health and regulatory law and public sector administrative and child care law.

The cost of this Law Society Professional Training conference is €186 (€160 discounted) and it can be booked now.    

The day-long conference qualifies for three general, one regulatory matters, one management and professional development skills CPD points, giving a total of five hours (by group study).




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