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Thursday 14 December 2017

Proposed €40m building 'will offer once in a generation opportunity to deliver a modern family law complex'

'X' marks the spot of new development (Photo: Google Maps)
'X' marks the spot of new development (Photo: Google Maps)

Kathleen O'Sullivan

A new court complex in Dublin's city centre will deliver a long-awaited modern family law court.

The move comes after years of lobbying by senior judges over the inadequacy of the Four Courts' facilities and a campaign to see the current family law court moved out of Dolphin House in Dublin 8.

The new Hammond Lane Courts Complex will offer a new Supreme Court and a "once in a generation opportunity to deliver a modern family law complex."

Since the foundation of the State, the Supreme Court has been located within the Four Courts.

Now the proposed €40 million legal complex will be on Hammond Lane in Smithfield, behind the Four Courts building.

The improved Supreme Court in this proposal will be one of 22 court rooms in the new Hammond Lane complex.

The Court with its chambers and offices will take up less than one sixth of the space available. The inclusion of the Supreme Court in this proposal was only decided six months ago, despite ongoing planning for the Family Court complex.

The Courts Service submitted a detailed business case for the Government’s perusal and approval in relation to the development of a family law, child care, children’s court and improved Supreme Court complex at a central city site.

A spokesperson for the Courts Service said; "There is a great need for a single centre where family justice cases can be heard, with all the required support services at hand. This project poses a real opportunity for us to do something extremely positive.

"There is widespread agreement of the need to develop suitable and appropriate facilities in regard to family law and children’s cases.

"The planned facilities will set modern standards for court accommodation and would, most importantly, meet the needs of people who come to court at a difficult time.

"The availability of a large development site, located directly adjacent to the Four Courts that is largely archaeologically-resolved, already State-owned with no site acquisition costs, is a unique set of circumstances unlikely to re-emerge, possibly for generations."

The spokesperson said the need for these new facilities is due to the recognition of the unique features of family and children’s law that distinguish them from general criminal or civil court law.

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