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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
CPD Afternoon Lecture series – 2 CPD points each
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
Please note that members and prospective members can now join or renew their membership online.
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 email@example.com. Please send application, including cover letter and CV to Tanya Ward, Chief Executive, Children’s Rights Alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your contributions would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you and stay safe
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 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).
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.
· 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).
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.
For the convenience of all who partcipated in the webinar held on the 7th May 2020 please see below the book referenced by Muriel Walls at that webinar.
FLA Annual Circuit Conference 2020
The FLA would like to thank all the participants of the 2020 FLA Annual Circuit Conference which was delivered remotely on Monday 27th April 2020.
Papers are now available for FLA members in the CPD section of the members area.
FLA Covid 19 response Steering Group - Guidelines for Access during Covid-19
The FLA Covid 19 Response Steering Group have issued guidelines to assist parents and practitioners in relation to access, in light of the restrictions brought in to tackle Covid-19.
These guidelines reflect the position of the Department of Justice and Equality, issued by Minister Charlie Flanagan yesterday, and endorse the practice direction of the President of the District Court, last week.
This guidance has been prepared by family law practitioners and endorsed by the Family Lawyers Association Family and the Child Law Committee of the Law Society.
Parents and practitioners will appreciate the guidelines are intended to constitute best practice guidelines rather than specific client advice.