Family Lawyers

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FLA Breakfast Briefing series (3) The Family Home

FLA Breakfast Briefing series - The Family Home


Ancillary Reliefs - The Family Home


Breakfast Briefing Series in association with The Courts Service of Ireland

8th December 2020 at 8.30 a.m.



Nuala E Jackson SC 


Please find registration link below: 


Amendments to Constitution of the FLA - AGM 2020


Amendments to the Constitution of the FLA - AGM 2020

The Executive Committee of the Family Lawyers Association is pleased to announce that the Association at its AGM on the 14th November 2020 agreed to amend the Constitution to allow for Judicial and Academic members of the Association, in addition to Associate members.

In addition, it was agreed that former members of the Association who have retired from practice will be entitled to associate membership as of right. The amended provisions of the Constitution, being Articles 3 and 5, are set out below.

The annual subscription for Judicial, Academic or Associate membership is €150. To join, please see the “Become a Member” section of the website.

The Association is pleased to welcome its first Judicial Members, The Hon. Ms. Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon, Judge of the High Court and Past Chair of the FLA and Her Honour Judge Rosemary Horgan, Judge of the Circuit Court and Past President of the District Court.


3. Membership

Membership of the Association shall be open to any practising solicitor or barrister. Judicial membership of the Association shall be open to any member of the Judiciary (current or retired). Academic membership of the Association shall be open to any member of faculty of a third level institution whose academic work involves them in the area of family law. Associate membership of the Association shall be open to such other persons involved in the area of family law as may be determined by Executive Committee of the Association from time to time. Former members of the FLA who have retired from practice will be entitled to associate membership as of right. A Judicial, academic or associate member shall not be entitled to vote at general meetings of the Association and shall not be eligible for membership of the Executive Committee of the Association. The Association may, from time to time, holds events which are not open to attendance by Judicial, academic or associate members.

5. Subscriptions

A member or Judicial/academic/associate member shall pay or discharge such yearly subscription as may be determined by the Executive Committee from time to time. The Committee may prescribe a different subscription rate for members and Judicial and academic and associate members, and for categories within members, such as newly qualified lawyers.

FLA Facemask Fund Raising Initiative for The Leukaemia Trust

FLA Facemask Fundraising Initiative for the Leukaemia Trust


The FLA is undertaking a fund raising initiative with FLA facemasks.

All members will receive a free masks by post/DX in coming days but is asking members to purchase extra masks with all sale proceeds going to the Bone Marrow for the Leukaemia Trust in St James’s Hospital.

Masks cost €10 each or three for €20 and to purchase contact any member of Executive Committee.


FLA Family Court Reform Sub Committee

FLA Family Court Reform Sub-Committee

The FLA is pleased to announce the establishment of the Family Court Reform Sub-Committee and wishes to thank Dervla Browne SC for agreeing to chair this Committee which will examine the important area of family court reform proposals. The Sub-Committee looks forward to working with the Department for Justice and Equality in this regard.

Contributions from members are most welcome and should be sent to or Further details of the Sub-Committee and its work will be circulated to FLA members in due course and there will be direct communication with members also.

FLA Executive Committee Changes


FLA Executive Committee Changes


It is with sadness but many happy memories that the FLA Executive Committee says goodbye to Sine Creamer BL. Sine has been involved with the Association for many years and we will greatly miss her quiet efficiency, sensible contributions and social glamour! Our loss is Twitter’s gain and we wish her the very best and hope she will ‘follow’ us and return to visit us at our events. Cathy Morris, solicitor, has now been co-opted to the FLA Executive Committee. Cathy, who is well known to us all, is well familiar with the challenges of family law practice and her knowledge and experience will benefit the Association. Cathy is a solicitor in Sandra McAleer, solicitors, in Dublin and practises family law at all jurisdictional levels. She has been a great friend and supporter of the FLA over many years and we welcome her greater involvement. Sine Creamer BL and Lyndsey Keogh BL were for many years Secretaries to the FLA, doing massively important work in the day to day operation of the Association. Both have now stepped back from this role. We are delighted that Lyndsey’s practice commitments are such that she no longer afford the time to carry out this role but we are pleased that she remains on the Executive Committee. It is impossible to express the vital role which Lyndsey and Sine have performed within the Association in recent years and our heartfelt thanks to them both. The new secretaries to the Executive Committee are Erika Coughlan BL (law reform) and Anthony Hopkins, trainee solicitor (secretarial and administration). We welcome them onboard! Continuing appreciation to Brian Mulvany BL who keeps the website in check and does so with great commitment.

FLA Programme of Events for the 2020/2021 Legal Year

Programme of Events for legal year 2020/21

The FLA is delighted to announce the below programme of events proposed to be held during the 2020/2021 legal year. 

Breakfast Briefing series (with Courts Service) – Financial Ancillary Reliefs in Divorce/Judicial Separation – I CPD point each

  • 13th October 8.30 a.m. – Maintenance
  • 10th November 8.30 a.m. – Property adjustment orders
  • 8th December 8.30 a.m. – The family home
  • 19th January 8.30 a.m. – Domestic violence
  • 9th March 8.30 a.m. – Pensions
  • 11th May 8.30 a.m. – Financial compensation orders and securitisation of maintenance
  • 8th June 8.30 a.m. – Succession rights
  • 13th July 8.30 a.m. – Variation of ancillary reliefs

CPD Afternoon Lecture series – 2 CPD points each

  • 22nd October 4.30 p.m. - Ethics in family/child law and how to deal with complaints? (James McGuill, Member of LSRA; Keith Walsh, solr.; Sean O hUallachain SC)
  • 19th November 4.30 p.m. - Relocation of children (Cormac Corrigan SC)
  • 3rd December 4.30 p.m. - Section 32/47 reports – towards a protocol/challenging a report
  • 28th January 4.30 p.m. – Insolvency and family law revisited
  • 18th February 4.30 p.m. – Evidence and family law – statements of truth, proving financial records, expert evidence
  • 25th March 4.30 p.m. – Childcare law – caselaw update
  • 6th May 4.30 p.m. – Children and disability law (EPSEN reform) in association with AsIAm (Chair: Adam Harris, CEO, AsIAm)
  • 17th June 4.30 p.m. – What parents disagree … what day to day parental decisions are justiciable and how should courts approach this?
  • 22nd July 4.30 p.m. – Coronavirus and the family law courts – where are we now? (followed by FLA summer party)


  • AGM November 14th – reports from the research groups (Child care, maintenance and Covid-19)
  • Four Jurisdictions webinar – January 2021 – followed by physical or virtual cocktail party
  • Circuit Conference (Mullingar) – 19th April 2021 (a) Paperless Practice (b) family law update
  • Advance Notice: November 2021 – Brexit and Family Law Revisited – conference Derry and AGM


  • Christmas party – 17th December
  • Cocktail party (physical or virtual) after the Four Jurisdictions webinar
  • Loving Day Ball – Saturday 12th June 2021 Venue: TBD
  • Summer party 22nd July

Rainbows Ireland will continue to be the FLA Charity Partner for the coming year. Fundraising events will be arranged as and when possible.

Important Notice - Applying for or renewing membership of the Family Lawyer's Association of Ireland

Important Notice - Applying for or renewing membership of the Family Lawyer's Association of Ireland


Please note that members and prospective members can now join or renew their membership online.

Please click here to become a member.


Catherine McGuinness Fellowship

Catherine McGuinness Fellowship

Are you a newly-qualified barrister? We are recruiting for the Catherine McGuinness Fellowship on children's rights and child law.

Read the advertisement and full description here.

Closing date for receipt of applications is close of business on Friday, 25 September 2020. Interviews will take place on Friday, 9 October 2020. For full details, including a Position Overview, email Please send application, including cover letter and CV to Tanya Ward, Chief Executive, Children’s Rights Alliance at

Child Care Law Reform

Child Care Law Reform

The Department of Children has asked for submissions on reforming the Child Care Act, 1991. The lead in time is short (11th September 2020 is the date which has been given for submissions).

The FLA has set up a sub-group to formulate submissions on our behalf and welcomes contributions/comments/questions from FLA members in this regard. We would ask for these by Friday 4th September, earlier if possible.

The FLA sub-group is chaired by Gareth Noble, solicitor and the members are Sarah Fennell BL (FLA law reform), Lewis Mooney BL, Nora Ni Loinsigh BL and Erika Coughlan BL (research).

Submissions may be made to: or

Your contributions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you and stay safe

Appreciation of Judge Susan Ryan on her retirement

The FLA would like to share the following appreciation of Judge Susan Ryan on her retirement

Her Honour Judge Susan Ryan

On Thursday, December 24, 2019 a large and unusually diverse group assembled in a packed Circuit Family court 31 in Phoenix House. Present were all the Registrars who sit in the circuit family courts, all of the family court office staff, porters, representatives from the Legal Aid Board and the Courts service, a number of former and current county registrars, a huge contingent of family lawyers both solicitors and members of the bar together with circuit court judges, including President Patricia Ryan of the Circuit Court and the then recent President of the AJI ( Association of Judges of Ireland) Mr Justice John Edwards. All present were there to pay tribute and say farewell to Her Honour Judge Susan Ryan upon her imminent retirement from the Circuit Court bench.

Her route to the bench involved a BCL degree from UCD followed by qualification as a solicitor in 1979, a number of years with John Rochford and Sons solicitors followed by an 18 year period as a litigation solicitor with Eugene F Collins solicitors. She then embraced, or was embraced by, the public service being appointed as County Registrar for Dublin in August 1999, a position which she held for 14 years, simultaneously acting as a member of the Circuit Court Rules Committee. In July 2013 she was appointed as a Specialist Insolvency Judge of the Circuit Court and this was followed in December 2016 by her appointment to the Circuit Court bench.

Her accumulated experience as a solicitor, County Registrar and insolvency judge equipped her with administrative skills, a thorough knowledge of court rules and procedures and an ability to grasp financial detail and documents. All of this wealth of experience combined with her humanity, common sense, wisdom and appetite for hard work she brought to bear in dealing with family law cases in Phoenix House- for it was there that she chose to spend her entire time on the circuit bench.

And the high regard in which she was held (and let’s call it out- the fondness too!) was so evident by the numbers and the variety of people who attended in court to mark her retirement (an event arranged in secrecy in view of her typically understated and trenchant opposition to any “fuss”). And as for the tributes? Well, the registrars and courts staff spoke of her unfailing courtesy and helpfulness, the legal aid board of her support for initiatives such as mediation and the legal profession paid tribute to her prodigious work record, her legal knowledge and practicality, and her endless patience in dealing with them and with litigants. And in reply she confessed (not for the first time) that her patience was indeed frequently tested, sometimes to the point of desperation, by the family law practitioners. That said, she acknowledged and stressed her admiration for their dogged tenacity in serving the interests of their clients.

She was no stranger to tenacity herself, never stinting of her time or energy in hearing difficult cases requiring considered decisions and carefully crafted orders. She never counted the hours and for a time had a double workload, uncomplainingly, working as an insolvency judge and in the family courts. Moreover she was a collegiate judge serving as secretary of the Association of Judges of Ireland, chairing sessions and speaking at circuit court conferences and contributing to meetings with the family lawyers users group. And she was as generous with her time as she was in sharing her knowledge with her colleagues.

There was courage too, both in her work making complex decisions and orders, and physical courage too so starkly demonstrated in her own court in December 2018. Suffice it to say “cometh the hour….”.

Her decision to retire and the manner of her going was typically understated and took many by surprise but she has made promises to herself and miles and miles to go… Her colleagues will miss her wisdom, her knowledge her companionship and her (sometimes whacky) sense of humour as she heads off to wander in the groves of Academia (in Trinity College) and to spend more time on her much- loved mountain walks and in the company of her family. In all of this we wish her well.

Programme for Government - Family Law Courts

Programme for Government - Family Law Bill & Court Proposal

The FLA would like to highlight to its membership the following passage from the recently agreed Programme for Government (which can be found at page 85 in the Programme for Government).

“Courts Reform

An independent, impartial, and efficient judiciary and courts system is critical to our democracy. We must focus on reforming our family court system, to ensure that proceedings involving children are dealt with in a manner that recognises the unique vulnerability and needs of children. It is evident that in areas such as planning law there is a need for greater specialism to enable the more efficient management of cases. The costs associated with the Irish legal system, as well as the time involved in cases, are more expensive and take longer than in peer countries and we will address this. We must make greater use of alternative dispute resolution across all courts.

We will:

· Enact a Family Court Bill to create a new dedicated Family Court within the existing court structure and provide for court procedures that support a less- adversarial resolution of disputes.

· Build a new Family Law Court building in Dublin and ensure that court facilities across the country are suitable for family law hearings, so that these hearings can be held separately from other cases.“

Guardianship of Children (Statutory Declaration) Regulations 2020 (S.I. No. 210 of 2020)

Guardianship of Children (Statutory Declaration) Regulations 2020 (S.I. No. 210 of 2020).

The Family Lawyers Association wish to inform its members that the Minister for Justice and Equality has made the Guardianship of Children (Statutory Declaration) Regulations 2020 (S.I. No. 210 of 2020).

These Regulations set out the form of statutory declaration prescribed for the purpose of section 2(4)(e) (amended by section 4 of the Children Act 1997) of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 to be made by the mother and father of a non-marital child who wish the father to become a guardian of the child jointly with the mother. These Regulations also set out the form of statutory declaration prescribed for the purpose of section 6B(4)(c) (inserted by section 49 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015) of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 to be made by the mother and the other parent of a child (where the other parent is, along with the mother, a parent of the child under section 5 of the Act of 2015) who wish the other parent to become a guardian of the child jointly with the mother.

The Guardianship of Children (Statutory Declaration) Regulations 1998 (S.I. No. 5 of 1998) are revoked by these Regulations.