Catherine Ghent

Partner

About Catherine

Catherine is one of the foremost Child Law practitioners in Ireland.

 

Practice area

Catherine provides advice on all aspects of public law involving children. Catherine works extensively on behalf of children who are the subject of care order applications and who are at risk. Cognisant of the sensitivities involved and vulnerability of many of her clients, Catherine represents children through court appointed guardians ad litem. Catherine also represents natural parents in child care proceedings and provides advice for foster-carers.

 

Catherine’s practice includes taking cases against the State where children are at risk and advises on the constitutional position of Children and the Family. Catherine has an exceptional track record of advocating on behalf of children's rights in the public law field and is one of the leading voices in the campaign to promote children’s rights through Constitutional change.

 

Experience

  • Represents some of the State’s most vulnerable children in complex cases of physical, sexual and emotional abuse

  • Challenged the legal basis on which the State was detaining children abroad, resulting in a ruling from the European Court of Justice which has resulted in greater legal safeguards for children so detained

  • Challenged time limits for the bringing of criminal charges against children resulting in a precedent judgment ensuring the State cannot unduly delay

  • Challenged the constitutionality of the section in the 1908 Children Act to detain children in adult prisons

  • Challenged the discriminatory requirements for children in care who require mental treatment

  • Challenged the omission in the 2001 Children Act, which allowed identification of minors pre-charge and post, when charged with serious criminal offences

  • Advised on one of the first litigated cases of an adult detained abroad

  • Advised foster-carers on their rights under the amended Child Care Act

  • Retained by local authorities in the UK to advise foster-carers and prospective adoptive parents on the implications of UK orders for care and custody in Ireland

  • Retained by local authorities in the UK to process and register UK orders to grant legal certainty to children in this jurisdiction.

 

 

Catherine lectures on the Law Society’s PPC II course, Criminal Law Certificate and Child Law Certificate courses. She has delivered lectures and training to a wide range of professionals, including guardians ad litem, lawyers, mental health professionals including psychologists and psychiatrists, family support workers and judges.

 

Catherine has spoken at numerous conferences as an expert in her field and regularly contributes to public and media debate on all aspects of Child Law, including care proceedings, constitutional status, mental health, consent and capacity, juvenile crime, privacy, prosecution of child abuse and child victims.

 

Recognition

In 2013, Catherine was nominated for and won the award of Solicitor of the Year in a Family Law Firm at the Irish Law Awards.

 

Education/memberships

Catherine is presently a member of the Board of Northside Community Law and Mediation Service and the Irish Family Lawyers Association and was a member of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of Ireland and the National Children's Advisory Council.

Contact Catherine directly at catherine.ghent@gallaghershatter.ie

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