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Oireachtas Committee to hear submissions on family law reform

The Oireachtas Justice Committee will tomorrow be asked to consider establishing a specialist division of courts as part of family law reform.

The committee is to hear submissions on family law reform from Dr Conor O’Mahony of University College Cork and representatives from the Law Society of Ireland; Children's Rights Alliance, and Rape Crisis Network Ireland.

Keith Walsh, Chair of the Law Society’s Family Law Committee, will also appear and will argue that the Legal Aid Board is underfunded which, he will say, is making it economically impossible for solicitors to stay in District Family Court practice.

He will also propose a specialist division of family law courts and judges which, Mr Walsh said, “would assist greatly in dealing with family law cases more efficiently as it would be likely that the same judges would be available to deal with cases which appear regularly before the courts”.

“A greater degree of consistency could be established,” he said ahead of the committee meeting.

The RCNI is expected to air its concern in the management of child sexual violence by civil courts and will call for a national strategy on child sexual violence.

Committee Chair Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the group “has made Ireland’s family law system a work priority for 2019”.

“We plan to hold at least two more meetings on this vital topic in coming weeks involving key stakeholders with strong points of view on the way forward,” he said.