Children and Family Relationships Act 2015

Putting children at the heart of family law reform

Children and Family Relationship Act

The Children and Family Relationships Bill represents the most important reform of child and family law for a generation. The proposed legislation seeks to put children at the heart of family law, provide legal clarity around various family types and address discrimination faced by children in non-marital families. It is hoped that it will significantly reduce the number of cases going to court due to the current legal vacuum.

The Children’s Rights Alliance has formed a working group of its members to support its work in this area.

Why do we need the Children and Family Relationships Bill?

  1. To protect the child’s right to family life
  2. To ensure decisions are made in the best interests of the child
  3. To ensure the participation of children in judicial decision-making
  4. To protect the child’s right to identity.

But immediate action is still required to provide for a guardianship register and a comprehensive court welfare service to support the roll-out of this legislation.

Read our latest briefing note on the Children and Family Relationships Bill.

The journey so far!

30 January 2014: The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence publishes the General Scheme of a Children and Family Relationships Bill. You can read it here.

9 April 2014: The Children’s Rights Alliance presents to the Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality on the Bill. You can read our presentation here.

Children and Family Relationship Act

10 April 2014: We also hosted a hugely successful information seminar on the draft Bill. You can watch the livestream video recording here and read the papers from the seminar:

29 May 2014: The Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality report report on the Children and Family Relationships Bill.

26 September 2014: The Minister for Justice and Equality publishes the revised general scheme of the Bill. You can read it here. Read our press release in response to this here.

17 February 2015: Cabinet approves of the Children and Family Relationships Bill. You can read the Bill here. You can read our press release here.

02 March 2015: The Children’s Rights Alliance, hosts a seminar on the Bill in Dublin Castle. The event was opened by Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Justice and Equality (read her speech here), with a keynote address ‘The Children and Family Relationships Bill: A Children’s Perspective’ by Dr Geoffrey Shannon, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection. Read our press release here.

12 March 2015: The Children and Family Relationships Bill was passed by Dail Eireann. Read the Bill as passed here. The Bill will now proceed to Seanad Eireann.

06 April 2015: The Children and Family Relationships Bill was signed by the President of Ireland (enacted) on 06 April 2015. You can download the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 here.