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It is advised that victims of domestic violence get a solicitor for domestic violence court applications. While legal representation is not necessary for the initial application, it is highly recommended for the full court hearing. More information about what orders victims of domestic violence can apply for can be found here.
If you wish to receive legal representation, but you cannot afford a solicitor, it is possible to apply to the Legal Aid Board for Civil Legal Aid or to act as a lay litigant. You can check whether you are likely to qualify for legal aid here. You do not need to pay a contribution towards legal aid in domestic violence cases, as long as you meet the disposable income and capital thresholds for legal aid. More information can be found here. Alternatively, you can hire your own solicitor.
Applications for civil legal aid can be made online or through your local law centre. If a solicitor is not involved, you will need to contact your local District Court office.
If you want legal advice, FLAC offers some basic legal assistance for free and in confidence. However, this is merely advice and does not amount to legal representation. More information can be found here.
Applying for an Order
Applications under the domestic violence legislation are generally made in the District Court. In an emergency situation, the 2018 Act allows for a member of the Gardaí to request a special out-of-hours sitting of the District Court for applications for an interim barring order, emergency barring order or protection order.
The Courts Service can guide you through the application process. For contact details for any District Court in Ireland, click here. The District Court Office staff will tell you the forms you need to make your application.
The Courts Service provides further information on the available court orders and the application process, including who can apply (such as spouses, civil partners, and co-habiting couples) and how to apply.
The Citizens Information website also provides general information about the process.
Going to Court
If you have never been to court before, and don’t know what to expect, the Courts Service have a useful page which can be accessed here.
This page covers frequently asked questions and general information, including:
- What to expect in the courtroom
- What to do in court
- Who to expect in the courtroom
- At the end of the hearing
- Where do I go if I need alternative arrangements/additional support
Alternatively, the Courts Service has created videos explaining the process, which can be accessed here and here.
Under the Domestic Violence Act 2018, if you are going to court you may, in addition to being accompanied by your legal representative, be accompanied in court by an individual of your choice. This includes a support worker. For more information on support for domestic violence victims click here.
- The Courts Service provides accessible information on domestic violence, detailing the available court orders and the application process, including who can apply (such as spouses, civil partners, and co-habiting couples) and how to apply.
- An Garda Síochána provides helpful information on domestic abuse, including the reporting of domestic abuse; the indicators of domestic abuse; coercive control; domestic violence court orders; and support services.
- Tusla is the State run Child and Family Agency and it provides information on the Domestic, Sexual & Gender Based Violence Services available to those who are victims of domestic violence.
- Services available to those who are victims of domestic violence.
- Safe Ireland provides information and support to women and children who are victims of domestic violence and outlines details of the supports available to them. Information is also available for male victims of domestic abuse.
- The Women's Aid website also provides accessible information on domestic violence, including dating abuse, domestic violence and children, coercive control, digital safety, and advice on supporting a victim of domestic violence. The Women's Aid webpage also contains concise information on the most frequently asked questions about domestic violence court orders, including:
- When does the order come into effect?
- What orders can I apply for?
- How do I apply for orders?
- Do I need legal representation?
- What documentation do I need?
- What happens next?
- How am I protected in the meantime?
- What happens at full hearings?
- What if an order is broken?
- Who can avail of Protection through the Courts?
- Who doesn’t qualify for protection?
- Is there any other form of legal protection?
- What about divorce and separation?
- Who can help me through this process?
- The Citizens Information website provides further information on safety, protection and barring orders, and provides contact details for a range of support services.
- Tusla and Barnardos have also produced a variety of targeted information leaflets, including:
- An information leaflet for parents of children aged 6-12 who have experienced domestic abuse.
- A child friendly information leaflet for children aged 6-12 who have experienced domestic abuse.
- An information leaflet targeted at teenagers who are living with domestic abuse.
- FLAC has also produced an information leaflet on the type of court orders that can be granted.