THE Chief Justice has described Ireland's new Civil Partnership regime as "a serious and solemn legal contract" for same-sex couples.
In a major speech on the changing nature of Irish families, Mrs Justice Susan Denham has warned that the rights of access to guardianship of and protection of children is an area which is growing and becoming more complex.
The judge, who recently led the Supreme Court when it ruled that the Government's €1.1m information campaign for the Children's Referendum broke the McKenna rules on impartiality, said that "old certainties" in family law are being challenged.
"Part of the complexity arises because of the disparate nature of parents and the array of significant adults in a child's life," she said at the launch, in the Four Courts in Dublin, of two legal guides to civil partnership and cohabitation.
The launch comes ahead of plans by the Government to introduce new laws to allow children in same-sex families to form a "legal connection" with their non-biological parent.