(This is not a definitive list. For a complete list, see the Chronological Guide to Irish Family Law Legislation and Statutes from 1865 – present.)
Mediators are not all solicitors. Your Mediator will not advise you on points of law. It is important to check any legal matters with your solicitor, and chose a solicitor who has substantive experience and knowledge of your particular case, or area of law.
Recent family law Ireland: Since 1990.
The Mediation Bil 2017: was published on 14th February 2017. The object of this legislation is to bring Mediation to center stage, to reduce the costs of litigation, and to allow the disputants to carve out solutions to their issues in a mutually satisfactory way. Under this Legislation solicitors and Barristers for the parties will be obliged to inform their clients of the benefits of mediating their dispute, in cases which may be amenable to this resolution process. Courts will also provide access to a mediator so that parties may be informed of the mediation process and how it may be employed in their particular case. See the legislation here: (http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=34522&&CatID=59)
Child Care (Amendment) Act 2007: This act affords greater rights to foster and relative parents who have cared for a foster child for a period of not less than 5 continuous years. Some of the rights granted to foster and relative parents include; consent to medical or psychiatric treatment, treatment or assessment with respect to the child, permission to sign passport applications and school trip consent forms. However, any application may be made through the Courts and with the knowledge and consent of the Health Service Executive. Furthermore, the parents in loco parentis must also be informed of the application. Before any application is granted, the courts will have regard to what are the best interests of the child and will take into account the wishes of the child in light of his age and degree of understanding.
Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act 1989: amended the grounds for judicial separation, assisted reconciliation between estranged spouses and provided for ancillary orders such as maintenance, property adjustment and custody of children.
Child Care Act 1991: gave powers to health boards to care for children who were ill-treated, neglected or sexually abused.
Child Abduction and Enforcement of Custody Orders Act 1991: dealt with wrongful retention of children. Implemented the Hague Convention 1980 and the Luxembourg Convention 1980.
Maintenance Act 1994: simplified procedures for recovering maintenance debts from other countries.
Family Law Act 1995: raised the minimum age for marriage to 18 and required 3 months’ written notice to local registrar, abolished petitions for jactitation of marriage (falsely claiming to be married to someone), provided for declarations of marital status, and ancillary orders after judicial separation or foreign divorce.
Domestic Violence Act 1996: extended safety, barring and protection orders to non-spouses, gave health boards powers to apply for orders, allowed arrest without warrant for breach.
Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996: allowed divorce and remarriage, with all ancillary orders.
Children Act 1997: recognised natural fathers as guardians, allowed children’s views to be considered in guardianship, access and custody matters, allowed parents to have joint custody.
Family Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1997: Amends the Domestic Violence Act 1996 in respect of barring orders and interim barring orders. Section 4 nowstates that, the applicant seeking a further barring order, shall be presumed to have lived with the respondent as husband and wife for a period of at least six months in aggregate during the period of nine months prior to making the application.
Protections for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act 1998: Protects a person from civil liability who has reported child abuse to a designated officer of the Health Board in terms of the communications made. Further protection is afforded to employees who report child abuse from being penalised by their employers as result of making such reports. The protection is not unqualified and the person who has reported child abuse must have acted reasonably and in good faith in forming that opinion and communicating it to the appropriate person. A person, who reports child abuse to the appropriate person, knowing the statement to be false shall be guilty of an offence.
Protection of Children (Hague Convention) Act 2000: Implements into Irish legislation the Hague Convention on the protection of children. Provisions of the Convention deal with jurisdiction, applicable law, co-operation and enforcement of measures designed to protect the welfare of the child between signatory states to the Convention. In order to facilitate greater co-operation and information sharing, each signatory state must establish a Central authority, which in Ireland’s case is the Department of Equality, Justice and Law Reform. Once the child reaches the age of 18 years, the Convention provisions can no longer be invoked. There are several matters which are outside the remit of the Convention such as rights on asylum, immigration, maintenance payments and public matters of a general nature involving education and health. The Contracting State who has jurisdiction in relation to cases of wrongful removal or retention is the one where the child was habitually resident immediately prior to the retention or wrongful removal, until the child has acquired habitual residence in another Contracting State, in addition to;
- Each person, institution or body having custody rights acquiesced in the removal or retention.
- The child is resident in the other Contracting State for at least 1 year after the person, authority and institution having custody rights should have know of the whereabouts of the child, no request for return lodged within that period is still pending and the child is settled in his environment.
Domestic Violence (Amendment) Act 2002: Permits the court granting an interim barring order on an ex parte basis where in the particular circumstances of the case, the court deems it necessary and expedient to do so in the interest of justice. Any application for an interim barring order shall be grounded on affidavit or information sworn by the applicant (person applying for the barring order). If an interim barring order is made ex-parte, a copy of the court order, note of evidence and information sworn by the applicant must be served upon the respondent (person against whom the barring order is being enforced) as soon as reasonable practicable.
Citizens Information Ireland is a good place to start for an easy to understand explanation of family legislation; however it is not a substitute for legal advice in your own case.
Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008: Permits the Property Registration Authority (PRA) to cancel an entry made in the Land Registry or note compliance in the Registry of Deeds, after being satisfied that the Property Adjustment Order has been complied with. The PRA are also required to amend or cancel the entry in the Land Registry and note the position in the Registry of Deeds when the initial Property Adjustment Order has been amended, revoked or suspended, which usually arises when the second Property Adjustment Order has been duly lodged for registration with the PRA.
(For a complete list, see the Chronological Guide to Irish Family Law Legislation and Statutes from 1865 – present.)
Recent Land Law
Landmark changes in Irish property legislation are not just a matter for solicitors. They affect vendors and purchasers, and estate agents.
The Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act of 2009: There is a good explanation of this here.
The Civil Law (Miscellaneous provisions) Act 2011 which provided new procedures to allow a person whose property has previously enjoyed these Prescriptive rights to register them in the Property Registration Authority (PRA) without the need to seek a formal written agreement. In the event of a dispute the PRA may refuse to register the right of way, and it will go to the courts. It is however wise to flag the intention to the landowner, as the PRA will contact him for confirmation. Consult your solicitor in all matters relating to property legislation.
Residential Tenancies Act 2004 amended in 2015: The Residential Tenancies Board offer a free mediation and adjudication service to tenants and Landlords who find themselves in dispute about any aspect of their contract. RTB offer a range of services to both landlords and tenants. It is worth your time as either a tenant or Landlord to inform yourself of you responsibilities in relation to this legislation. (http://www.rtb.ie/)
Succession: Is governed by the Succession Act 1965. The Act gives the surviving spouse/civil partner an automatic right to a share in the estate of their deceased spouse/civil partner. The share to which the spouse/civil partner is entitled is often called “a legal right share” Information regarding rights and responsibilities can be found online. This is a broad easy to understand outline. Full comprehensive information is best explained by your solicitor.