Guardianship of Infants Act 1964
F96 [ Power of court to make certain orders
32. (1) In proceedings to which section 3(1)(a) applies, the court may, by order, do either or both of the following:
(a) give such directions as it thinks proper for the purpose of procuring from an expert a report in writing on any question affecting the welfare of the child; or
(b) appoint an expert to determine and convey the child ’ s views.
(2) An order under subsection (1) may be made by the court of its own motion or on application to it in that behalf by a party to the proceedings and, in deciding whether to make an order, the court shall have regard to any views expressed to it in relation to the matter by or on behalf of a party to the proceedings concerned or any other person to whom they relate.
(3) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the court, in deciding whether to make an order under that subsection, shall, in particular, have regard to the following:
(a) the age and maturity of the child;
(b) the nature of the issues in dispute in the proceedings;
(c) any previous report under subsection (1)(a) on a question affecting the welfare of the child;
(d) the best interests of the child;
(e) whether the making of the order will assist the expression by the child of his or her views in the proceedings;
(f) the views expressed by a person referred to in subsection (2).
(4) A copy of a report under subsection (1)(a) may be provided in evidence in the proceedings and shall be given to —
(a) the parties to the proceedings concerned, and
(b) subject to subsection (5), if he or she is not a party to the proceedings, to the child concerned.
(5) In determining whether a report obtained under subsection (1)(a) should be furnished to the child to whom it relates, the court shall have regard to the following:
(a) the age and maturity of the child and the capacity of the child to understand the report;
(b) the impact on the child of reading the report and the effect it may have on his or her relationship with his or her parents or guardians;
(c) the best interests of the child;
(d) whether the best interests of the child would be better served by the furnishing of the report to the parent, guardian, next friend of the child or an expert appointed under subsection (1)(b), rather than to the child himself or herself.
(6) An expert appointed under subsection (1)(b) shall —
(a) ascertain the maturity of the child,
(b) where requested by the court, ascertain whether or not the child is capable of forming his or her views on the matters that are the subject of the proceedings, and report to the court accordingly,
(c) where paragraph (b) does not apply, or where paragraph (b) applies and the expert ascertains that the child is capable of forming his or her own views on the matters that are the subject of the proceedings —
(i) ascertain the views of the child either generally or on any specific questions on which the court may seek the child ’ s views, and
(ii) furnish to the court a report, which shall put before the court any views expressed by the child in relation to the matters to which the proceedings relate.
(7) The court or a party to proceedings to which this section applies may call as a witness in the proceedings an expert appointed under subsection (1).
(8) Where, in proceedings referred to in subsection (1), the court has made an order under paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (1), nothing in this section shall prevent the court from —
(a) making a further order under either or both of those paragraphs, or
(b) in making such a further order, appointing the same or a different expert to perform the function concerned.
(9) The fees and expenses of an expert appointed under subsection (1) shall be paid by such parties to the proceedings concerned and in such proportions, or by such party to the proceedings, as the court may determine.
(10) The Minister may, in consultation with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, by regulation specify —
(a) the qualifications and experience of an expert appointed under this section, and
(b) the fees and allowable expenses that may be charged by such an expert.
(11) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (10), regulations under that subsection may provide for:
(a) the qualifications, and the minimum level of professional experience, to be held by an expert,
(b) the minimum standards that shall apply to the performance by an expert of his or her functions under this section, and
(c) such other matters as the Minister considers necessary to ensure that experts are capable of performing their functions under this section. ]
Inserted (18.01.2016) by Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 (9/2015), s. 63, S.I. No. 12 of 2016.
Application of regulations made under subs. (10) extended (1.01.2019) by Domestic Violence Act 2018 (6/2018), s. 27(6), S.I. No. 532 of 2018. In so far as those regulations apply to an expert appointed under subs. (1)(b) of that section, they shall also apply to an expert appointed under subs. (2).
Power pursuant to section exercised (1.01.2019) by Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 (Child’s Views Expert) Regulations 2018 (S.I. No. 587 of 2018), in effect as per reg. 1(2).