It is my intention to publish proposals in 2019 for a new approach to handling family law cases in Ireland at District, Circuit and High Court levels. This will be done by legislation to create a new dedicated Family Court within the existing court structures. These courts will have new procedures aimed at less adversarial resolution of disputes and will have appropriate facilities and case management arrangements.
My Department is currently working on the General Scheme of a Family Court Bill, which will aim to streamline family law court processes, clarify jurisdictional issues and provide for a set of guiding principles to help ensure that the Family Court will operate in a user-friendly and efficient manner.
In the context of the proposals I mention, it is my intention to examine the feasibility of having a workable model of reporting on family court processes and outcome, in consultation with the relevant agencies, including the Courts Service and having regard to existing legislative provisions. This examination will have to consider that there is potentially a very extensive range of highly sensitive family law related business and matters before the courts that could be the subject of reporting, whether it is in such areas as divorce proceedings, judicial separation, guardianship matters, custody, access, maintenance, domestic violence and so on.