Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Questions (212)

Pádraig MacLochlainn


212. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to upgrade the family law court at Dolphin House which is in dire condition and not fit for purpose; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35755/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to inform the Deputy that, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in exercising its functions, which include the provision of accommodation for court sittings.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and have been informed by the Courts Service that the District Family Law Office in Dolphin House is the busiest family law office in the country, accounting for a very significant percentage of barring and safety orders issued nationally. The opening of the Criminal Courts of Justice provided an opportunity to re-organise the work of the District, Civil and Family Law courts and free up additional accommodation in Dolphin House for family law and child care business and court users.

The Service has stated that the courthouse was refurbished at a cost of €3.74 million and re-opened on the 14 February 2008. The refurbishment provided for extended accommodation and improved facilities comprising five enlarged courtrooms with adjoining Judges' Chambers, additional consultation rooms, separate areas for family law applications/enquiries and payments, a legal practitioners' room, an Office for the Legal Aid Board and the Family Mediation Service which has a permanent presence on site, a new waiting area, universal access, three interview rooms, upgraded ventilation system, baby changing room, and a light refreshment machine.