The Minister for Justice has indicated that a Referendum to establish a new Family Court will be held next year.
Speaking at a conference in Dublin this morning Alan Shatter said that Ireland should have a dedicated and integrated Family Court structure to meet the needs of people.
A two-tier system comprising of a lower Family Court with limited jurisdiction and a higher court with unlimited jurisdiction would be established, both staffed with specialist judges.
The lower court would deal with cases concerning family law and child care matters which are currently heard by the District Court.
The court of unlimited jurisdiction or the higher court would deal with family matters such as adoption and child abduction.