Family Law Act 1995

Jurisdiction of courts and venue.

38

38.(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, the Circuit Court shall, concurrently with the High Court, have jurisdiction to hear and determine proceedings under this Act and shall, in relation to that jurisdiction, be known as the Circuit Family Court.

(2) Subject to the other provisions of this section, the Circuit Family Court shall, concurrently with the High Court, have jurisdiction to hear and determine proceedings for a decree of nullity.

(3) Where the F49[market value] of any land to which proceedings in the Circuit Family Court under this Act relate exceeds F49[3,000,000] that Court shall, if an application is made to it in that behalf by any person having an interest in the proceedings, transfer the proceedings to the High Court, but any order made or act done in the course of such proceedings before the transfer shall be valid unless discharged or varied by the High Court by order.

F50[(4) The jurisdiction conferred on the Circuit Family Court by this Act may be exercised

(a) F51[]

(b) F51[] by the judge of the circuit in which any of the parties to the proceedings ordinarily resides or carries on any business, profession or occupation.]

(5) F52[]

(6) Section 32 of the Act of 1989 shall apply to proceedings under this Act in the Circuit Family Court and sections 33 to 36 of that Act shall apply to proceedings under this Act in that Court and in the High Court.

(7) In proceedings under section 8, 9, 10 (1) (a), 11, 12, 13, 14, F53[15A,] 18, 23 or 25

(a) each of the spouses concerned shall give to the other spouse and to, or to a person acting on behalf of, any dependent member of the family concerned, and

(b) any dependent member of the family concerned shall give to, or to a person acting on behalf of, any other such member and to each of the spouses concerned,

such particulars of his or her property and income as may reasonably be required for the purposes of the proceedings.

(8) Where a person fails or refuses to comply with subsection (7), the court, on application to it in that behalf by a person having an interest in the matter, may direct the person to comply with that subsection.

F54[(9) In this section market value means, in relation to land, the price that would have been obtained in respect of the unencumbranced fee simple were the land to have been sold on the open market, in the year immediately preceding the bringing of the proceedings concerned, in such manner and subject to such conditions as might reasonably be calculated to have resulted in the vendor obtaining the best price for the land.]

Annotations

Amendments:

F49

Substituted (11.01.2017) by Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 (31/2004), s. 51(a), S.I. No. 2 of 2017.

F50

Substituted (5.05.1997) by Family Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1997 (18/1997), s. 2(2), commenced on enactment.

F51

Deleted (1.01.2019) by Domestic Violence Act 2018 (6/2018), s. 45(1)(f), S.I. No. 532 of 2018, subject to transitional provision in subs. (2).

F52

Repealed (11.01.2017) by Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 (31/2004), s. 51(b), S.I. No. 2 of 2017.

F53

Inserted (27.02.1997) by Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996 (33/1996), s. 52(n), commenced as per s. 1(2).

F54

Inserted (11.01.2017) by Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 (31/2004), s. 51(c), S.I. No. 2 of 2017.

Modifications (not altering text):

C7

Application of section affected (31.03.2005) by Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 (31/2004), s. 40, S.I. 544 of 2004; as amended (1.08.2008) by Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008 (14/2008), s. 31, S.I. No. 274 of 2008; and as amended (11.01.2014) by Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 (32/2013), s. 5, S.I. No. 5 of 2014.

Proceedings heard otherwise than in public.

40.

(2) For the purposes of this section each of the following shall be a “relevant enactment”—

...

(i) section 38 of the Act of 1995;

...

(3) Nothing contained in a relevant enactment shall operate to prohibit—

(a) the preparation by a barrister at law or a solicitor or a person falling within any other class of persons specified in regulations made by the Minister and publication of a report of proceedings to which the relevant enactment relates, or

(b) the publication of the decision of the court in such proceedings, in accordance with rules of court, provided that the report or decision does not contain any information which would enable the parties to the proceedings or any child to which the proceedings relate to be identified and, accordingly, unless in the special circumstances of the matter the court, for reasons which shall be specified in the direction, otherwise directs, a person referred to in paragraph (a) may, for the purposes of preparing [such a report—

(i) attend the proceedings, and

(ii) have access to any relevant documents,

subject to any directions the court may give in that behalf.]

[(3A) (a) Subject to paragraph (b), nothing contained in a relevant enactment shall operate to prohibit bona fide representatives of the Press from attending proceedings to which the relevant enactment relates.

(b) Subject to paragraphs (c) and (d), where, in proceedings under a relevant enactment, a court is satisfied that it is necessary to do so—

(i) in order to preserve the anonymity of a party to the proceedings or any child to whom the proceedings relate,

(ii) by reason of the nature or circumstances of the case, or

(iii) as it is otherwise necessary in the interests of justice,

the court may, on its own motion, or on application to it by a party to the proceedings or by a person on behalf of a child to whom the proceedings relate, by order—

(I) exclude, or otherwise restrict the attendance of, bona fide representatives of the Press from the court during the hearing or particular parts of it, or

(II) prohibit or restrict the publication or broadcasting of any evidence given or referred to during the proceedings or any part of such evidence,

and any such order may, with regard to any restriction, contain such conditions as the court considers appropriate.

(c) In determining whether or not to make an order under paragraph (b), a court shall have regard to the desirability of promoting public confidence in the administration of justice and to any other matter that appears to it to be relevant and shall, in particular, have regard to the following:

(i) the best interests of a child to whom the proceedings relate;

(ii) the views, if any, of—

(I) a party to the proceedings, and

(II) a child to whom the proceedings relate who is, in the opinion of the court, capable of forming his or her own views;

(iii) whether information given or likely to be given in evidence is sensitive personal information;

(iv) the extent to which the attendance of bona fide representatives of the Press might inhibit or cause undue distress to a party to the proceedings or a child to whom the proceedings relate by reason of the emotional condition or any medical condition, physical impairment or intellectual disability of the party or the child concerned;

(v) the need to protect a party to the proceedings or a child to whom the proceedings relate against coercion, intimidation or harassment;

(vi) whether information given or likely to be given in evidence might be prejudicial to a criminal investigation or criminal proceedings;

(vii) whether information given or likely to be given in evidence is commercially sensitive information; and

(viii) whether information of the type referred to in subparagraphs (iii), (vi) and (vii) when taken together with other information would, if published or broadcast, be likely to lead members of the public to identify a party to the proceedings or a child to whom the proceedings relate.

(d) In considering the views of a child referred to in clause (II) of paragraph (c)(ii), a court shall take account of the age and level of maturity of the child concerned.

(e) Where evidence in proceedings to which a relevant enactment relates concerns a matter referred to in subparagraph (vi) of paragraph (c), an application under paragraph (b) may be made by or on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

(f) In this subsection—

‘commercially sensitive information’ means—

(i) financial, commercial, scientific, technical or other information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to result in a material financial loss or gain to the person to whom it relates, or could prejudice the competitive position of that person in the conduct of his or her business or otherwise in his or her occupation, or

(ii) information the disclosure of which could prejudice the conduct or outcome of contractual or other negotiations of the person to whom it relates;

‘party to the proceedings’ includes a witness in the proceedings;

‘sensitive personal information’ means information about a person that would, in the ordinary course of events, be known only to the person or members of the family, or friends, of the person, and includes but is not limited to—

(i) information relating to the medical, psychiatric or psychological history of the person,

(ii) information relating to the tax affairs of the person,

(iii) information relating to the sexual conduct or sexual orientation of the person.]

(4) Nothing contained in a relevant enactment shall operate to prohibit a party to proceedings to which the enactment relates from supplying copies of, or extracts from, orders made in the proceedings to such persons and in accordance with such conditions (if any) as may be prescribed by order of the Minister.

(5) Nothing contained in a relevant enactment shall operate to prohibit a party to proceedings to which the enactment relates from being accompanied, in such proceedings, in court by another person subject to the approval of the court and any directions it may give in that behalf.

(6) Nothing contained in an enactment that prohibits proceedings to which the enactment relates from being heard in public shall operate to prohibit the production of a document prepared for the purposes or in contemplation of such proceedings or given in evidence in such proceedings, to—

(a) a body or other person when it, or he or she, is performing functions under any enactment consisting of the conducting of a hearing, inquiry or investigation in relation to, or adjudicating on, any matter, or

(b) such body or other person as may be prescribed by order made by the Minister, when the body or person concerned is performing functions consisting of the conducting of a hearing, inquiry or investigation in relation to, or adjudicating on, any matter as may be so prescribed.

(7) Nothing contained in an enactment that prohibits proceedings to which the enactment relates from being heard in public shall operate to prohibit the giving of information or evidence given in such proceedings to—

(a) a body or other person when it, or he or she, is performing functions under any enactment consisting of the conducting of a hearing, inquiry or investigation in relation to, or adjudicating on, any matter, or

(b) such body or other person as may be prescribed by order made by the Minister, when the body or person concerned is performing functions consisting of the conducting of a hearing, inquiry or investigation in relation to, or adjudicating on, any matter as may be so prescribed.

(8) A court hearing proceedings under a relevant enactment shall, on its own motion or on the application of one of the parties to the proceedings, have discretion to order disclosure of documents, information or evidence connected with or arising in the course of the proceedings to third parties if such disclosure is required to protect the legitimate interests of a party or other person affected by the proceedings.

(9) A hearing, inquiry or investigation referred to in subsection (6) or (7) shall, in so far as it relates to a document referred to in subsection (6) or information or evidence referred to in subsection (7), be conducted otherwise than in public and no such document, information or evidence shall be published.

(10) This section shall apply to proceedings brought, and decisions of a court made, whether before or after the commencement of this section.

[(11) In subsection (3), ‘relevant documents’, in relation to any proceedings referred to in that subsection—

(a) subject to paragraph (b), means—

(i) the petition, summons or other originating document in the proceedings,

(ii) pleadings and other documents (including the terms of settlement, if any) produced to or lodged with the court, or included in the book of pleadings, in the course of the proceedings, and

(iii) any order made by the court in the proceedings,

(b) does not include any document the contents of which are expressed to be without prejudice or in terms having a like effect.]