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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.
Important Notice - Applying for or renewing membership of the Family Lawyer's Association of Ireland
Please contact email@example.com if you wish to renew membership or become a member.
Please do not use our online registration system until further notice. We are working to resolve these issues as a matter of urgency
The Executive Committee
Submission on Establishment of Child Maintenance Review Group & Establishment of FLA Sub-committee on Child Maintaenance
The FLA notes the annoucement of Minister Doherty of the establishment of a Child Maintenance Review Group to examine a number of issues regarding child maintenance.
The FLA intends to make a submission with regard to the above and welcomes the views of members.
Please note the there is a FLA Child Maintenance Sub-committee being established. Raghnal O’Riordan SC will Chair this sub-committee and the co-ordinator and FLA liaison will be Dr. Sarah Fennell BL.
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 Webinar Series - May, June and July 2020
Please find below details of the Family Lawyers’ Association of Ireland (FLA) webinar series for May, June & July 2020. In the context of the current unusual circumstances, these webinars are open to all and are free of charge. Please note that our future webinars will be open to Members of the Association only and will be recorded in order that Members may have access after the live webinar.
If you have queries in relation to Membership of the Association, please contact Graham Hanlon, Hon. Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org
1. FLA CPD Lecture Series
Insolvency and Family Law (webinar)
10th June 2020 at 2 p.m. (2 hours)
Chairperson: Her Honour Judge Susan Ryan
2.00 p.m. Introduction (Paul McCarthy SC)
2.05 p.m. Keith Farry BL
3.05 p.m. Eugene McDarby (PIP)
3.30 p.m. Q & A
4.00 p.m. close
CPD points: 2
2. FLA Breakfast Briefing series (now webinar)
Family Law Act, 1995 Part III
16th June 2020 at 10 a.m. (1 hour)
10.00 a.m. Nuala E Jackson SC (45 mins)
10.45 a.m. Q & A (15 mins)
CPD points: 1
FLA Webinar Series - July 2020
Please find below details of the Family Lawyers’ Association of Ireland (FLA) webinar series for July 2020.
If you have queries in relation to Membership of the Association, please contact Graham Hanlon, Hon. Secretary, email@example.com
3. FLA Breakfast briefing series
Childcare Law Update (webinar)
Gareth Noble, solicitor.
7th July 2020 8:30am (approximately 1 hour)
Paper followed by Q&A
CPD points: 1
4. FLA CPD Lecture Series
Data Protection and Children (webinar)
Jeanne Kelly, solicitor, LK Shields.
Thursday, 16th July 2020 at 4.30 p.m. (1.5 hours)
4.30 p.m. Introduction
4.35 p.m. Lecture
5.30 p.m. Q & A and panel discussion
CPD points: 1.5
If you wish to register for any or all of these webinars, click on the relevant link above. Our platform allows for 500 attendees.
You can also follow us on Twitter - @lawyers_ireland
Very best wishes and we hope you will be able to join us at some of these events.
Nuala E Jackson SC
Chair, Family Lawyers Association
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 - Update 20th April 2020
This Steering Group was established to try to co-ordinate the responses of the FLA on behalf of its membership to the crisis thrust upon us. It was established to lobby, to innovate, and to give prominence to the FLA as a highly active, visible and trusted body to the Court Service, to the Bar Council, the Law Society, the Judiciary and wider.
The committee has issued an update to all members on the beginning of the new legal term.
As part of the committee's role it will this week re-appraise the situation which confronts the entire family law community.
We expect that an announcement will be made by Government on Friday week or so about the shutdown; whether it will be continued, or whether it will be relaxed and if so, to what extent.To contribute to the debate in Government and wider, the committee intends to review the document it published some weeks ago entitled “Future Functioning of the Courts’ and to reissue it, revised and updated by the 24th April. We invite ideas from the entire membership as to how the business of the Courts could be re-established post 5 May. Given that the predominance of family law litigation is at District and Circuit Court level, suggestions for these Court’s particularly are invited.
Please let us have your suggestion (bullet points not essays!), by Thursday of this week, the 23rd April at the latest. Please do not assume that your ideas have already been thought of by anyone else; please do not assume that your ideas don’t matter. We particularly want to hear from practitioners on each and every circuit across the country. Every idea, no matter how seemingly far-fetched, will be considered and evaluated. Every contribution is welcomed and valued.
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.
The FLA would like to share the following guide for online mediation.
FLA COVID-19 Response Steering Group - Submissions on Current & Future Functioning of Family law Courts.
A subcommittee of the FLA has endeavoured to develop a detailed understanding of the current functioning of the Courts across Ireland – particularly in so far as it relates to the practice of Family Law and related areas. The results of that survey, though still incomplete, are published today and will be widely circulated. Aside from the data which we have collated, the survey reveals the tremendous commitment, selflessness and professionalism of everyone involved in the administration of Justice across the country and particularly in the field of Family Law. The survey will be updated and re-published as new data and information emerges.
Following on from that work, the subcommittee set upon the task of developing realistic ideas and practices for the reinstatement of the safe and responsible practice of Family Law for the medium future – we suggest from April 2020 to September 2020.
The suggestions set out in these submissions are premised on full compliance by all parties with the Public Health Guidelines issued by the HSE.
The FLA would invite all interested parties to review the below submissions and the FLA Covid-19 Response Steering Group welcomes any feedback or suggestions.
FLA issues Guidance for members & practitioners - COVID-19
After a period of consultation a sub-committee of the Family Lawyers Association has drafted a short set of protocols which it is hoped will aid mutual professional cooperation, guarantee continuity of work, protect and further the interests of our clients and above all minimise unnecessary exposure to illness.
These protocols are not intended to be prescriptive but are offered to satisfy a demand among the membership for clarity as to how we can proceed in the foreseeable future.
It behoves us all to try and be as collegiate as possible consistent with the interests of our clients and to co-operate with each other in these extraordinary times as much as possible with a view to finding agreements where possible.
The successful implementation of the protocols will require a degree of flexibility from all stakeholders and we urge all members to use their good common sense and discretion in this regard.
We are extremely gratified by the spirit of mutual cooperation shown by the membership in the past week or so.
Please click here for a link to the guidance.