We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. View our Cookies Policy. Click Accept and continue to use our website or Manage to review and update your preferences.


Strictly necessary cookies

Cookie name Duration Cookie purpose
ASP.NET_SessionId Session This cookie holds the current session id (OPPassessment only)
.ASPXANONYMOUS 2 Months Authentication to the site
LSI 1 Year To remember cookie preference for Law Society websites (www.lawsociety.ie, www.legalvacancies.ie, www.gazette.ie)
FTGServer 1 Hour Website content ( /CSS , /JS, /img )
_ga 2 Years Google Analytics
_gat Session Google Analytics
_git 1 Day Google Analytics
AptifyCSRFCookie Session Aptify CSRF Cookie
CSRFDefenseInDepthToken Session Aptify defence cookie
EB5Cookie Session Aptify eb5 login cookie

Functional cookies

Cookie name Duration Cookie purpose
Zendesk Local Storage Online Support
platform.twitter.com Local Storage Integrated Twitter feed

Marketing cookies

Cookie name Duration Cookie purpose
fr 3 Months Facebook Advertising - Used for Facebook Marketing
_fbp 3 months Used for facebook Marketing
Bill to set up new family law courts
Justice minister Helen McEntee Pic: RollingNews.ie

30 Sep 2020 / family law Print

Bill to set up new family law courts

A new Family Court Bill is to provide for the establishment of a District Family Court, a Circuit Family Court, and a Family High Court as divisions within existing court structures.

The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee (pictured) announced today (30 September) that the Government had backed the drafting of the bill.

She said that the changes would lead to the development of a more efficient and user-friendly family court system, which would include “sensible, comprehensive and sensitive” procedures, particularly for vulnerable families.

Less adversarial

The bill, a commitment to which was included in the Programme for Government, creates a new dedicated Family Court within the existing court structure, and is aimed at allowing court procedures to support a less adversarial resolution of disputes.

Judges with specialist knowledge of family law will be appointed on a full-time basis to both the District Family Court and the Circuit Family Court for renewable terms of three years.

The bill will also create new positions of Principal Judge of the District Family Court, Circuit Family Court, and Family High Court.

The department says that the District Family Court could exercise jurisdiction in “straightforward and non-contentious" cases that require court orders, and which can be successfully resolved through mediation. The Circuit Family Court would deal with complex or contested family law cases.

The Family High Court will have jurisdiction over adoption, child abduction and special-care cases, as well as dealing with cases stated, and appeals.

Oversight group

Minister McEntee has also set up a Family Justice Oversight Group to coordinate the development of a national family justice service.

The group will be chaired by a senior official of the Department of Justice and Equality, and will include representatives from the judiciary, the Courts Service, the Legal Aid Board, and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

The text of the General Scheme can be found on the website of the Department of Justice and Equality at: Family Court Bill General Scheme (September 2020).

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland