What to expect going to Court in Ireland

We understand that going to Court for family law matters can be quite daunting and stressful for some people. Usually it is a person’s first encounter with the legal system. The first thing to know and to take comfort in is that family law matters are held in camera. In camera means the proceedings are heard in private before a judge and only the parties, their legal teams, the court clerk and a Guard are present in the courtroom.

What is said during a family law hearing cannot be discussed outside of the courtroom nor should any Court Orders be shown unless the Court allows it. Breach of the in camera rule could lead to heavy sanctions.

A family law solicitor represents clients in District Court matters such as access, maintenance and domestic violence applications. When your matter is in the Circuit Court for a Judicial Separation or a Divorce a family law solicitor and barrister will be representing you. Similarly, your spouse or partner will likely have their own legal team.

Whatever Court you are in, your solicitor will confirm what time you need to attend for your hearing and you should have time to speak with them before your case is called. If you have any questions for your solicitor about the hearing you can ask them in advance or on the morning of it and they will run through it with you and help to put your mind at ease.

Although they can’t accompany you into the hearing, it can be a good idea to bring a friend or relative for moral support and they can wait for you outside. If you have a good family law solicitor they will talk you through each step of the process so that you are aware of what is going to happen and what the potential outcomes are going to be.