Irish News

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Separation and divorce: what the judges say

Published 18/03/2014|00:49

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* Delays/overburdened lists: “The lists are over-loaded, the quantity of work for us is too great on any given day. The system has unreasonable expectations, listing multiple cases for hearing and motions on the same day. The system would never function without barristers; the court is so inundated with work.”

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* Judicial training/pressure on judges: “The lack of judicial training in family law is an issue, particularly training to deal with children. Some form of training is required to assist judges in dealing with children directly when required, and to understand the dynamics of parental conflict.”

* Valuing family homes: “We are entering the world of Rumsfeld; the unknown and the great unknowns. That is where we are at with valuing the family home.”

* Information about family courts:  “While the 'in camera' rule is necessary to protect the parties and their children from the public eye, the lack of any record is a significant downside. Would people really attend family law proceedings if the 'in camera' rule was lifted – no one comes in for civil cases and very few people attend most criminal trials, apart from the high-profile cases.”

* Allegations of sexual abuse:   “I am concerned that allegations of sexual abuse are at times being used as a very effective weapon, but a court is obliged to ensure that the HSE or the gardai investigate all such complaints.”

*  Mediation agreements: “A great number of mediated agreements that have come to my court have been prepared by non-legally trained parties and this is an issue where there are issues around financial provision for children and assets to be divided.”

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