Alex's Answer

Irish Family Justice System

Your Question

information on family justice processes

Answer

Hi there,  

Thank you for your question. So, you would like some information on the family justice process.  

Firstly, we can look at what the family justice system in Ireland is. It is not a clear system, but rather a collection of services, structures and supports for families who would like help when dealing with changes they experience in family life, such as parents not being together anymore, which parent the children might live with, how often they see each parent, etc.  

The family justice system falls between private and public law, as some cases may need to go to criminal court if either the parents or children have been hurt or harmed.  

There are a number of people and support services involved in the family justice system. These include The Courts Service (which manages the courts where cases are held and can provide support for people involved in the cases such as the judge, providing information on the courts systems, and providing spaces for the cases to be heard). The judiciary or judge who are in charge of family case hearings and makes legal decisions about the case. Legal Professionals, which include solicitors who provide legal advice and represent and/or defend the client’s (parent or child) legal interest (what the court case or hearing is about). Barristers are types of lawyers who speak up and defend people and give legal advice in court, and mediators. There are other support services who may attend a court hearing such as other government agencies, legal aid boards, Túsla and county registrars.  

How an issue is resolved depends on what the problem is, sometimes people choose not to go to court and instead use a mediator to help. If the case goes to the courts, it can take a while for the case to be brought up in court. Wait times are different all around the country.  

There are changes being made to the process. We have included a link below for the Children’s Constitution Report which outlines changes that young people would like to see to the family justice process www.gov.ie/pdf/?file=https://assets.gov.ie/239780/4622c552-c809-493f-a66a-92cde379e490.pdf#page=null . 

If you would like to talk about this some more, our Childline Team are here to help and support you too. We do not judge, and we can explore your options with you. You can contact us any time of the day or night, the Childline Listening service never closes, we are here for you 24/7/365. Our free phone service is 1800 66 66 66 or chat with us through our webchat service, by clicking on the purple Messenger circle at www.childline.ie.  

Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us, and we hope you found this information helpful.   

Take care of yourself, 

Alex

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