UCC’s child and family law masters first of its kind

A CHILD and Family Law masters set to begin in September at University College Cork will be the first of its kind in Britain and Ireland.

The course director is Ursula Kilkelly and it will build on the faculty’s wide range of expertise and knowledge in the area of child and family law.

According to Dr Kilkelly, it was envisaged to have about 15 students on the course.

“But we are now looking at expanding the figures because there has been a huge response to it,” she said.

A law degree is not essential for the masters and people with experience in the area such as social workers can also apply.

Graduates will be well placed to seek employment in any area of child or family law, nationally or internationally, whether in law reform, the children’s sector, in research or in legal practice.

Dr Kilkelly said the course will build on the work of the clinic at UCC, a resource centre for solicitors and a vehicle to push law reform.

“Family laws stack up and the system is not particularly child-focused. We do not define parental authority and do not look at children per se, and sometimes it can be more about parents.

“The issue around medical treatment is that the law proves that the age of consent to medical treatment is 16 but that the Constitution suggests a strong parental role even above that age. Psychologists can be wary about counselling children who are over 16 without parental consent. Case law suggests that parental consent is required. But what if the issue concerns the parent?

Dr Kilkelly said children are, under the law, dependent on others.

“Children cannot sue in their own name. Even if you have a 17-year-old, they need an adult.”

Modules include juvenile justice, mental health law, disability and the law and challenges in medical law and policy.


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