It appears that the Court Service is not fully meeting the requirements for Garda vetting of ‘experts’ appointed by judges in the Family Court

An investigation by Alliance of  Birth Mothers Campaigning for Justice (ABC) has concluded that some therapists posing as experts in the Family Court are using vetting from their accreditation body to cover themselves when doing separate work with children commissioned by Judges.

Currently there is a requirement under law that a person have separate Garda vetting for work with different bodies.

Relying on Garda vetting submitted to an accreditation body does not meet the vetting requirement for the Family Court. Separate Garda vetting must be submitted to the Family Court.

It’s ABC’s understanding that the Court Service is not universally seeking Garda vetting for experts appointed by the Family Court.

A letter from one accreditation body states that it is not within their remit to oversee Garda vetting within organisations such as the Family Court.

Separately, a Section 32(1)(b) report, generally known as a voice of the child report, commissioned by the Family Court is a highly regulated report ( SI 587/2018) that must be carried out by either a psychiatrist, psychologist, social care worker, social worker or a registered teacher.

A mother has submitted documentation to ABC showing that a therapist working for the Family Court got the mother’s legal aid certificate changed from a Section 32(1)(b) report to a Section 32(1)(a) which can be done by any unqualified person calling themselves an expert who gives “their expert opinion”.

Are the judiciary aware of what happens afterwards when they make an order for a Section 32 report?

ABC doesn’t know the answer to this question but will be continuing with its investigation to find out.