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Waiting for Family Law Trial Date

Caller – Michael was legally separated nine years ago but his wife is non-compliant to the rules settled by the divorce. He is waiting to take her back to Court but whenever he rings the Solicitor to find out the date for the hearing the Solicitor isn’t very helpful and just says he is waiting to find out. Michael wants to know if he can by-pass his Solicitor and find out himself when and if a date for the hearing has been made.

Waiting for a Court date can be very difficult – particularly if it is in a provincial Circuit Court.  The way the listing system operates is that when a case is re-entered for Court it is listed in the “call-over” (a court listing to fix dates in the court diary) at the start of the sessions for each legal term and at the call-over a date is fixed, if it is available, during those sessions.  If a date is not available then the case is postponed to the following sessions in the next legal term.  I can say to Michael that this is very frustrating for litigants and for their Solicitors because there is no certainty at all in the way the Court diary is set.

If Michael knows the registration number (record number) of the case – his Solicitor will have this – he can go to the local Circuit Court office and ask to see the file.  Because the files are confidential he should bring some photo ID with him.  He can talk to the County Registrar or one of the staff and ask what the position of the case is at the moment and find out when it is likely to go to Court.

Here's the link to find your local Circuit Court Office:

http://www.courts.ie/offices.nsf/WebCOByJurisdiction?OpenView&Start=1&Count=30&Expand=3#3

FOOTNOTE: During the programme a listener sent in a text to say that the District Court also has jurisdiction to grant divorce.

Brian: "The District Court has no jurisdiction to grant an order of divorce. The Circuit Court is normally the court in which an application for divorce is made although in certain circumstances the High Court may be the right forum for the case."

"The District Court has extensive jurisdiction in certain family law cases for maintenance, barring orders etc but not to grant an order of divorce"

The issues raised in the answer to this NewsTalk listener's question are dealt with in a general way as can only be the case on live radio. Before relying on the advice given in this answer, whether you heard the broadcast or are for the first time reading the issues here please do not rely on the broad advice given. For a detailed professional opinion please consult a qualified legal advisor and for further details read our disclaimer on the Home Page.

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