Coalition calls for immediate funding for dedicated family law courts complex

Coalition calls for immediate funding for dedicated family law courts complex

A new coalition of legal bodies, charities and NGOs has launched a campaign calling on the Government to immediately allocate the funding necessary to develop a dedicated family law courts complex at the Hammond Lane site.

The “Courting Disaster” campaign involves the Law Society of Ireland, The Bar of Ireland and the Family Lawyers’ Association, legal rights groups FLAC, Community Law & Mediation and the Children’s Rights Alliance, and charities Barnardo’s, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, the National Women’s Council Ireland, One Family and Women’s Aid.

The coalition aims to highlight the “archaic” conditions in which family law and childcare cases are currently being heard in Ireland.

A dedicated family law courts complex at Hammond Lane has been agreed in principle for some time, but agreement has yet to be reached on its structure and funding.

The Oireachtas justice committee recommended in October that the necessary funding for the complex, as well as the modernisation of family court facilities nationwide, be allocated as a matter of urgency.

In a joint statement, the Courting Disaster campaign group said: “A properly functioning courts system is essential to providing access to justice.

“Some of the most vulnerable members of society seeking to resolve family law proceedings, often arising from relationship and marital breakdown and domestic violence, are currently faced with wholly unsuitable and inconsistent court facilities where not even basic needs are met, such as separate waiting areas, family-friendly spaces and consultation rooms to allow for privacy.

“These archaic conditions significantly increase stress and anxiety in what are typically very sensitive cases, and this can result in volatility and even violence in the course of family law litigation.

“A more effective and efficient administrative organisation of the court structure and improvement in court facilities will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the management of family law applications and lead to reductions in delays and cost which is in the interest of all parties to proceedings.

“The site at Hammond Lane is ready and awaiting the construction of dedicated family law facilities. We are calling on Government to make the necessary funding available without any further delay, so that the deficiencies in the current family law system can begin to be addressed.”

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