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First virtual hearing of a District Court case

15 May 2020 / justice Print

First virtual hearing of a District Court case

An interim care order for an unaccompanied child victim of trafficking was granted by Dublin District Court in the first virtual hearing of a District Court case, according to the Child Care Law Reporting Project (CCLRP).

At the outset, the court registrar read out the guidelines for virtual hearings, including that one participant would speak at a time and that the other participants would mute their microphones unless speaking.

In camera

Observers, including the CCLRP, kept both their microphones mute and their cameras off.

The judge said that the court had concluded that the case could be conducted virtually, with no unfairness to the parties.

She warned participants that, as the proceedings were covered by the in camera rule, there could be no recording or screen shots taken. All necessary documents had been filed and read by the court, she said.


The application was for an interim care order and care order for a minor, the judge said. The parents could not be served as their whereabouts were unknown, therefore the hearing was taking place ex parte.

The barrister for the Child and Family Agency (CFA) said that the child, a young teenager, had arrived into the country earlier in the year from a middle eastern country.


The judge ruled that an interim care order should be made, and the application for a full care order adjourned.

She appointed a guardian-ad-litem from the list before the court and noted that the CFA was continuing to seek the help of international agencies to contact the girl’s family in her country of origin.

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