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Limerick Family Court Dispute Resolution Centre Project

Limerick Court House

As part of the current Programme for Government, a number of provisions are outlined to reform the family court system. As part of this reform, the Department of Justice has recently established a Family Justice Oversight Group. The draft terms of reference for the Group include the following

  • Agree a high-level vision and key medium and longer-term objectives for the development of a national family law service having regard to international best practice, in parallel with the establishment of a dedicated Family Court structure. 
  • Identify or develop (as appropriate) the collaborative commitments necessary by agencies across the sector for the development of a national family law service, and agree how they will be progressed by lead agencies based on a structured, systematic approach grounded on actionable and time-bound priorities, goals and milestones.

With regards to the aims of the Programme for Government and the work of this Group, the Legal Aid Board and the Courts Service have agreed to lead the piloting of an optimum model of delivery of a family court or resolution centre. The intention is to develop a model that can become the standard across the country. Limerick has been chosen as the location for this pilot.

In order to provide leadership and governance for the Project it has been agreed that a Project Board be established, chaired by the Joint Project Sponsors. The Project Board is the primary forum for setting direction for the family justice system and overseeing performance in Limerick. The broad objectives of the two year pilot initiative are as follows:

  • Firstly to encourage persons who are experiencing family difficulties in Limerick to make more informed choices about how they might proceed in order to resolve their issues in a manner that provides better outcomes for children and families.
  • Secondly, to ensure that the processes applied to family disputes are conducted in a manner that maximises participation and that conclude in a timely manner.

The terms of reference and further documentation are found below.

Limerick Project Steering and Oversight Committee Terms of Reference

Limerick Pilot Project - Note on Stakeholder Consultation

Invitation - Limerick family Court, Dispute Resolution Consultations

The Project Board continues to welcome input into the pilot project from stakeholders in the Limerick area, who are involved in the resolution of family disputes or who otherwise believe they can add something to the project.  If you would like to be involved in the consultation process please email Andrew Field, Strategic Research Manager -  axfield@legalaidboard.ie