Family courts reform
The Law Society’s Family Law Conference, held in Blackhall Place on Friday 14 July 2023, considered the proposed Family Courts Bill 2022 to reform Ireland’s family law and justice system.
Attendees at the fully booked conference heard from Irish and international judges and family law experts who shared their experiences and perspectives, as well as a discussion of the Law Society’s recent submission on Family Courts reform:
While the Law Society has welcomed this long-awaited legislation, we believe many improvements are needed to ensure that the necessary infrastructure and appropriate resources are in place to support the new family court system and that the voice of the child is heard in cases concerning their interests and welfare.
The Law Society’s July 2023 submission outlines detailed family court reform priorities to ensure that the implementation of this legislation provides access to justice for families and children in Ireland, including the development of specialist family courts and learnings from international best practice.
The conference and submission received widespread national and local media coverage, which highlighted the Law Society’s concerns with the Bill in its current form and recommendations as discussed at the conference:
Newstalk, 12 July 2023: Keith Walsh SC, member and former Chair of the Family & Child Law Committee on the Pat Kenny Show
Irish Times, 14 July 2023: State’s commitment to protect families will not be ‘diluted’, says Attorney General
Irish Independent, 14 July 2023: Child protection expert challenges Government to back up family courts reform plans
Irish Legal News, 14 July 2023: Peter Doyle, Chair of the Family & Child Law Committee: The Family Courts Bill
Midwest Radio, 14 July 2023: Michele O'Boyle SC, member of the Family & Child Law Committee
RTÉ, 16 July 2023: Helen Coughlan, member and former Chair of the Family & Child Law Committee on This Week
The Bill is currently at the Second Stage before the Seanad and available at the link below: