Therapeutic jurisprudence and the development of family courts in Ireland

Paul Gavin


While specialised family and children’s courts are commonplace throughout Europe and in other common law jurisdictions, Ireland has yet to develop such courts. Despite the Family Court Bill, the purpose of which was to establish a dedicated family court, being announced in 2018, at the time of writing it had reached the pre-legislative scrutiny stage. This paper considers the importance of therapeutic jurisprudence to the development of family courts. It examines the international literature on therapeutic jurisprudence and considers how family courts should adhere to therapeutic principles in order to create respectful and supportive court environments, before arguing that any new family court model in Ireland should also adhere to therapeutic principles. This paper should therefore act as a useful guide to politicians, policy makers and the judiciary, all of whom will surely be involved in the future development of family courts in Ireland. 

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