Court Reports | Hearing the voice of the child in family law cases
Section 47 reports are intended to provide the court with information, in writing, about anything affecting the welfare of someone a family law case is about – they are usually about the children.
Section 47 reports can be ordered by the courtdirectly or following an application by one of the parties to the case, if the court agrees. For example, the solicitor or barrister for one of the parents may apply for a Section 47 report to be done.
Section 47 reports can only be ordered in the Circuit Court.
Section 47 reports are often carried out by child psychologists, other professionals, as authorised by the court, may also carry out the reports. However, there are no regulations setting out who can conduct Section 47 reports, neither are there any minimum qualifications required.
It is essential that the parties to the case are satisfied that the person undertaking this work with their child, or children, is appropriately qualified to do it. The legislation sets out that a copy of the report shall be given to each of the parties (usually through their solicitors).
There is a fee for Section 47 reports, and the fee is paid by the parties to the proceedings. The court will decide how much each party pays.
The court may call the author of the report to court as a witness. If this happens the parties to the case cover the expenses of the author of the report.