Monday 22 December 2014

Half of family law applicants have no legal representation

Fiona Ellis

Published 04/02/2014 | 02:30

Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan and Judge Rosemary Horgan, president of the District Court, at the launch of an Information Campaign for Separating Parents and their Children.
Picture: MAXWELLS
Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan and Judge Rosemary Horgan, president of the District Court, at the launch of an Information Campaign for Separating Parents and their Children. Picture: MAXWELLS

AT least half of all family law applications made to district courts come from people who have no legal representation.

And many of those who attend family courts are ill-equipped to deal with the consequences of the court process and do not understand the law and rules of court.

President of the District Court Judge Rosemary Horgan and the Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan have come together to launch an information campaign to help and support people in family law disputes who must appear in court.

The Ombudsman for Children's Office and the Courts Service have worked together to develop two short films for separating parents and their children about key aspects of family law proceedings in the District Court, and possible alternatives including family mediation.

One film for parents is called 'Finding Your Way' and one for young people aged 13-15 is called 'You Are Not Alone'.

Ms Logan said that over the past nine years her office has received a significant number of complaints from children and parents regarding court proceedings and how they affect children.

These include family law proceedings and matters concerning guardianship, custody, access and maintenance.

"I believe it is important that, at such a stressful time, both parents and young people are supported in making whatever decisions are best for them.

"I hope that the short films we are launching today will offer young people and parents helpful information about the options and supports available to them," she said.

Irish Independent

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