The Law Society of Ireland has called on the Minister for Justice and Equality to enact the new District and Circuit Court rules required under the new Domestic Violence Act 2018.
Chair of the Law Society’s Family and Child Law Committee, Keith Walsh, explains that the new legislation, which came into force on 1 January 2019, also requires updated rules at District and Circuit Court level.
“The vast majority of applications for safety orders and other measures take place in the District Court.
“Family law solicitors in Donegal and across Ireland acting for vulnerable clients in these distressing situations would normally rely on a set of procedures contained in the District Court Rules in order to make these applications quickly and correctly.”
The family law solicitor insists with the new rules not being published leave law practitioners in a difficult position.
Mr Walsh explains, “For example, the new Act contains an innovative emergency barring order which lasts for eight days. The current District Court rules do not provide for this order being made.
“Procedural irregularities could prevent emergency orders from being made, potentially with disastrous consequences for genuine victims of domestic violence.
“There should be no uncertainty about the procedural rules surrounding this new emergency order,” he added.
“In the meantime, an ad-hoc system has been developed, but this simply does not do justice to the victims of domestic violence and is unacceptable.”
Mr Walsh concluded: “We understand that the new rules have been drafted and are simply awaiting final approval. The new legislation was implemented five weeks ago and the new rules simply must be introduced immediately, or we risk failing the victims of domestic violence in Donegal.”