April 21, 2020

Appointments with clients during Covid-19

Gallagher Shatter are committed to serving our clients during the current Covid-19 pandemic.  

We have had an increase in requests from clients to prepare Wills for them.  We can facilitate clients in the preparation and execution of a Will.  We have a protocol to ensure social distancing can be adhered to whilst complying with the requirements for the execution of Wills as set out in the Succession Act, 1965.

If you would like to consult with any of our solicitors, we can conduct our consultations with you by telephone or video conference. We can accept many instructions by email also, if clients prefer. Please contact us to make an appointment for a consultation to discuss your needs.

March 16, 2020

Covid-19 notice

Gallagher Shatter is committed to playing its part in the national effort to help to delay and minimise the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic virus.  This will require a necessary change to our practice for the coming weeks, which will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

 

To protect our staff, our clients and suppliers and the wider community, visits to the office have been cancelled and will not take place until after 29th March 2020, unless urgently required.  Until that time, no visitors will be permitted to enter Gallagher Shatter premises, unless there is an urgent requirement. 

 

All client communications between now and 29th March 2020 will take place by phone, email, and/or conference call.

 

All communications with other firms and third parties will, in the main, be conducted by email and fax only and not in hard copy by post/courier.

 

We ask that those doing business with us communicate with us by phone, email, fax, conference call and avoid posting or sending hard copy materials by post or courier.

 

We are committed to ensuring continued support and services to our clients during this time and wish to reassure our clients that there will be no disruption to our services despite the COVID-19 virus. 

December 01, 2019

Divorce waiting time reduced

The Family Law Act, 2019 has changed the eligibility requirements for those wishing to apply for a Divorce.  The new requirement from 1st December 2019 is that the parties to the marriage must have been living separate and apart for a least two years during the previous three years, rather than at least four years during the previous five years.  Spouses who live in the same dwelling as one another shall be considered as living apart from one another if the court is satisfied that, while so living in the same dwelling, the spouses do not live together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship. A relationship does not cease to be an intimate relationship merely because it is no longer sexual in nature. 

 

The amendments apply to proceedings for the grant of a decree of judicial separation under the Act of 1989

that are either instituted on or after the date this section comes into operation, or that have been instituted, and have not been concluded, prior to such date. As such, cases pending before the Courts benefit from the reduced time period requirement. 

If you wish to apply for a Decree of Divorce, please contact us.

July 24, 2017

Circuit Court Rules (Family Law) 2017

New Circuit Court rules governing family law cases in the Dublin Circuit area only came into effect on 14th June 2017.

 

These changes came about pursuant to the President of the Circuit Court setting up a consultative group involving representatives from various bodies to include the Law Society, the Bar Council, the Family Lawyers Association and the Dublin Solicitors Bar Association. The group also comprised Ms. Rita Considine, County Registrar for County Dublin and Mr. Noel Rubotham, head of development at the Courts Service. The group was chaired by her Honour Judge Sarah Berkeley.

 

Our partner, Aidan Reynolds, represented the Law Society in the group.

July 24, 2017

Unmarried Woman Wins Pension Battle in UK Courts

A woman whose long-term partner died has won a legal battle in the UK’s highest Court. It is likely to improve the pension rights of unmarried couples in the public sector.

 

The woman, who was denied payments from her late partner’s occupational pension, argued that she was the victim of “serious discrimination”.

It remains to be seen how the implications of this Judgement impact upon public sector schemes in this jurisdiction.

Aidan Reynolds

July 24, 2017

Personal Injuries Update

The Injuries Board which is the Government body which makes personal injury awards in this jurisdiction published a revised Book of Quantum in October 2016. This will replace the Book of Quantum first published in 2004 and it provides general guidelines as to the amounts that may be awarded or assessed in personal injury claims.

 

A trend has emerged throughout 2016 and to date in 2017, and pursuant to the setting up of the new Court of Appeal whereby a number of personal injury awards made by Judges of the High Court have been substantially reduced on appeal to the Court of Appeal.

 

The Court of Appeal have also decreed that the maximum one can be awarded for general damages i.e., pain and suffering is €450,000. This of course if exclusive of all items of special damages to include loss of earnings, care costs etc.

Aidan Reynolds

June 29, 2016

Bill to reduce time required to obtain a Divorce

A private member's Bill, to reduce the period of separation necessary to obtain a divorce, from four years to two years, is to be brought forward next week in the Dail.  If the Bill is passed, the changes would need to be approved by a Referendum, as the existing requirement (that the parties be living separate and apart for a period of or periods amounting to at least four years during the previous five years prior to the instruction of proceedings), is defined in the Constitution.

Gallagher Shatter welcomes this development and calls on the Houses of the Oireachtas to pass the Bill quickly.  There is no justification for a lengthy waiting period of 4 years to apply for a Divorce.  Fears that there would be a dramatic number of applications for Divorce, upon its introduction twenty years ago, in 1996, have never been realised.  The law has not been substantially reviewed since that time.

The existing regime leads to increased costs for separated parties having to first obtain a legal separation (either by way of Deed of Separation or Judicial Separation through the Courts) followed by a Court application for a Divorce, usually 1-3 years after the separation has been completed.

The current law is also more restrictive for married couples compared to civil partners.  Civil partners can seek to dissolve a civil partnership if they have lived apart for two out of the previous three years.

Ciara Matthews, Managing Partner

June 23, 2016

Paternity Leave

The Paternity Bill was published this week and will be introduced to the Dáil today. This is a welcome development as Ireland lags behind its European counterparts in this regard.

The Bill provides new fathers and the fathers of newly-adopted children to a combined package of paternity leave and paternity benefit within the first six months following birth. Paid paternity benefit is provided for in the Bill of €230 per week for the two weeks of Paternity Leave. Employers will also have the option of providing a further top-up to the father's regular salary, but only if they so choose. It applies to self-empoyed fathers as well as those in paid employment.  The Bill proposes that Paternity Leave and Benefit can be taken at any point up until the child reaches 28 weeks of age.

This gives long overdue recognition to fathers' roles in the upbringing of their children and Gallagher Shatter welcomes the Bill and calls for it to be passed quickly through both Houses.

June 16, 2016

Ciara Matthews speaking at the Family Lawyers Association Conference

Ciara Matthews, Managing Partner, is delighted to be speaking at the Family Lawyers Association Conference in Cork this weekend.  She will be speaking to delegates on the topic of Hearing the Voice of the Child following the successful passing of the Child's Referendum.

Family law clients regularly express concerns that their children's voices are not being heard  and their views are not being taken into account by the Courts. Children themselves caught up in marital breakdowns and disputes express the wish to have their views heard and taken into account.

Article 42A.4.5 of the Constitution provides that provision shall be made by law for securing, as far as is practicable, in all proceedings concerning childcare, adoption, guardianship, cusoty of or access to any child who is capable of forming his/her own views, the views of the child shall be ascertained and given due weight having regard to the age and maturity of the child.

The ways the Court can hear the voice of the child can be by the child giving direct evidence (which is rare), the child being interviewed by the Judge privately (becoming more common), or the child can be interviewed by a specialist, such as a child psychologist, who can report the child's views to the Court.  To give full effect to the Constitution, proper funding needs to be immediately provided by the Government to support the Courts and the entire system to ensure that the Voice of the Child is heard in all cases, not just those where the parties can afford to engage private specialists.

March 10, 2016

Landlords Beware!

As and from the 1st January 2016 it is illegal for landlords to discriminate against persons in receipt of rent supplement, housing assistance payments or other social welfare payments.  Collectively, these payments are referred to as “housing assistance”.

 

Landlords, letting agents, and property advisors are prohibited from publishing or displaying advertisements which indicate an intention to discriminate on a new “housing assistance” ground. This means that a landlord cannot refuse a prospective tenant a tenancy solely on the basis that the tenant is in receipt of a rent supplement or other State support. 

 

Read on for adavice to landlords and to advice on means of redress for tenants.

 

For advice in relation to the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 and any other equality issues, please contact Ciara Matthews or Niamh O’Herlihy.

March 04, 2016

Reflecting on the past....looking to the future

Gallagher Shatter are delighted to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the firm this year.  A very special event is planned for the 8th of April 2016 to mark this anniversary and, in particular, to celebrate the contribution and friendship of our respected colleague, Brian Gallagher, as he retires from full-time practice.  We are delighted that Brian will remain as a consultant to the firm.  

March 03, 2016

Memo re Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015

The purpose of this Act is to reform the law and to make a modern statutory framework that supports decision making by adults, and enables them to retain the greatest amount of autonomy possible, in situations where they lack capacity. 

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