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District Court family law matters outside the scope of civil legal aid

It should be noted that the defence of prosecutions for a breach of a domestic violence order do not come within the realm of civil legal aid.  Where the matter involves enforcement of an access order , sometimes a summons for breach of an access order on foot of section 5(2) of the Courts (No. 2) Act 1986. While this section creates an offence which is a criminal matter and therefore strictly speaking outside the scope of civil legal aid, these cases are heard at sittings of the District Court for family law matters.

While the Board cannot provide legal aid for the defence or prosecution of a criminal offence, the application should be accepted on the basis that the solicitor will discuss with the applicant civil remedies which apply in relation to the enforcement of access orders. For example, section 18A of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 (inserted by section 60 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015) provides a new civil remedy of an “enforcement order”, available where a parent or guardian has been granted access or custody to a child and has been unreasonably denied such access or custody.