Our online editor caught up with family law solicitor and Bloomsbury author, Keith Walsh (@KWSolicitors), whose new book on divorce and judicial separation proceedings hit shelves on 11 July, 2019.
Q. What did you find most challenging about writing this book?
Getting started was definitely the hardest part and then finding the time to keep going at the book. It would not put me off doing another book but I would have to think very hard before I started.
Q. Were you pleased with the result of the recent divorce referendum?
Yes, especially as I was very involved with the Lawyers for Yes group in endorsing a 'Yes' vote. The waiting time of four years was simply too long and oppressive for those families who wished to divorce and make a new life for themselves. Two years is a much more reasonable time-frame and I was especially happy that the government decided to take the waiting period for divorce out of the constitution. Due to the historical background, it had to go in there in 1996 but it is now time to allow the Oireachtas to legislate in this area. One of the changes in this area of law has been in relation to the normalisation of legal separation and divorce in the last twenty years. Whereas initially people may have felt there was a stigma to being separated or divorced, to an almost universal degree, that perception has disappeared.
Q. Do you believe that family law can at times be somewhat of a neglected area in terms of research and funding?
Yes, for many years family law was viewed as the poor relation of other areas of legal practice and while this is less the case, there still appears to be a reluctance on behalf of government to fund the proper administration of family law justice. The current situation in Dublin where very few of the family law court buildings are fit for purpose is simply unacceptable, the childcare courts are housed in Victorian criminal law courts or the Bridewell, and there are very serious safety concerns regarding the other family law courts. The delay in the construction of the new family law courts structure at Hammond Lane and the likely lack of investment mean that this new state of the art facility will not have any additional capacity which is really not good enough. We have state of the art legislation in Ireland for family law but ancient resources.
Described as a 'comprehensive work' which will 'make practitioners' live's easier' - Divorce and Judicial Separation Proceedings in the Circuit Court: A Guide to Order 59 may be purchased here.