Family law researcher at WIT to start research in the District Court

Lecturer in Law at WIT, Dr Sinead Conneely

Lecturer in Law at WIT, Dr Sinead Conneely

WIT law researcher is set to begin new District Court research following the approval from Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) researcher Dr Sinead Conneely in collaboration with Dr Roisin O’Shea have been given the nod of approval by the Minister for Justice and Equality Francis Fitzgerald, to commence their new research in the District Court.

This research will allow Conneely and O’Shea to carry out empirical research in the District Court where they will observe family law applications with a view to reporting on and publish their findings.


Law lecturer at WIT, Sinead Conneely said, “We are keen to establish the impact of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, commenced last year, on cases before the court , and in particular to note the effect of the enforcement provisions, where orders for custody or access have been made and where one parent subsequently unilaterally breaches those orders.”


Practicing mediator Dr O’ Shea, whose PhD was funded by the Irish research Council and undertaken at WIT says,  “It is incredibly important for the development of law, to identify what issues need to be addressed in our family courts, and to provide up-to-date information on how the law is interpreted, and the outcomes."

Dispute resolution

 Dr O’Shea iterates that the courts should be the final resort in the case of family disputes, “The first options should involve appropriate dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation and ancillary supports such as family therapy, counselling and parenting courses. This kind of triage will help defuse the conflict and not inflame it as court proceedings tend to do.”


Dr Conneely and Dr O' Shea will commence their research later this month and will be observing family law cases in the District Court in all 8 Circuits in Ireland. 

Related Courses

Honours of Bachelor of Laws, Legum Baccalaurcus (LLB) in  Law

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