Planning Approval Received for Dublin Family Courts Project

11th April 2024

The Courts Service has welcomed the decision of the Commissioners of Public Works to grant planning permission for the Dublin Family Courts complex. The 19-courtroom Family Courts complex will be built on a brownfield site located at Hammond Lane/Church Street in Dublin 7 adjacent to the Four Courts in the heart of the city’s legal quarter.

The decision marks a major milestone in delivering this much-needed facility which will positively transform how Family court services are delivered in Dublin. It is the result of many years of collaborative work between the Courts Service, the Department of Justice and the Office of Public Works (OPW).

Vastly Improved Facilities

Conditions at the existing central Dublin family court venues at Dolphin House, Chancery Street and Phoenix House are basic with problems of overcrowding, lack of privacy, inadequate waiting areas and an absence of child and family friendly spaces, all adding to the stress of participating in Family law proceedings.

The Dublin Family Courts complex will replace these fragmented and inadequate facilities with a modern, purpose-built facility where family law cases can be held in a dignified, secure and non-threatening environment. Court facilities will be provided in an integrated complex alongside mediation, family support and related services.

The Dublin Family Courts complex has been designed with the specific needs of Family Law court users in mind. It will provide for an appropriate and safe environment for families to try to solve their problems effectively, helping them achieve the best possible outcome for their individual circumstances.

Additionally, it supports the Government’s far reaching programme of family law reform, the Department of Justice’s Family Justice Strategy and the Courts Service’s family law modernisation programme.

Widespread Consultation

Detailed plans for the new facility were developed by the Office of Public Works (OPW). In developing the plans there was extensive engagement and consultation with members of the judiciary and with staff from Dolphin House, Phoenix House and the Childcare courts at Chancery street as well as with other Government Departments and Agencies, members of the legal profession, providers of domestic violence support services and other organisations that work in or are interested in the area of Family Law.

These consultations were key in shaping what will be a state-of-the-art facility and demonstrated how dedicated many people are to improving the family justice system and providing better facilities to help those who need it.

The National Development Finance Agency (NDFA), with whom the Courts Service has worked successfully in the past to deliver Court facilities, will procure and deliver the Dublin Family Courts complex in conjunction with the OPW, on behalf of the Courts Service, as a Public Private Partnership.

Decision Welcomed

In welcoming the decision to grant planning permission the Chief Executive Officer of the Courts Service said “There has always been a determined focus by the Courts Service going back many years to bring this important project to fruition. The grant of planning is an important milestone on the road to building the long awaited Dublin Family Courts complex. There is now momentum behind this project and we look forward to working with the OPW and the NDFA to deliver this much needed facility as quickly as possible.”

The Dublin Family Courts complex will in addition be a landmark public building that will significantly enhance its urban surroundings. It is anticipated that construction will commence during 2026 and complete in 2028.