Areas of Expertise
Ciara is recognised as a leading practitioner in the area of family law and has been practising in all aspects of family law since 1996, with particular experience in complex, high value asset Judicial Separation and Divorce cases, often with cross-border and international dimensions. She is regularly consulted and engaged in complex custody and access marital and non-marital disputes, cross-border/international cases including child abduction and relocation cases. She has a particular knowledge and understanding of pensions in family law cases.
She is consulted in adoption cases, both domestic and inter-country adoption, by private individuals and the Adoption Authority of Ireland, having advised and provided legal Opinions to the latter on a variety of adoption cases. She has been involved in a variety of adoption proceedings, particularly under the Adoption Act, 2010.
Ciara has experience of prosecuting cases under the European Human Rights Convention. She successfully brought a case to the European Court of Human Rights resulting in the State acknowledging breaches of her client’s rights to respect for her private and family life and discrimination of the client’s enjoyment of her rights and freedoms under the European Human Rights Convention. She negotiated a settlement with the State by which the State committed to updating and modernising outdated aspects of Irish Family Law to ensure equal treatment of children regardless of the marital status of their parents.
She regularly appears in the Circuit and High Court and also in the Court of Appeal.
She is considered by colleagues to be a formidable opponent. She is chosen by her clients for her forthright approach and her steadfast representation of them. She keeps her clients fully informed at every stage in their case, in plain English, reducing the stress of an already stressful situation.
Ciara practised with the renowned firm of Gallagher Shatter from 1996, having trained with Alan Shatter and Brian Gallagher, the founding partners and she was a partner in that firm for over 15 years, as well as managing partner for 7 years.
Challenged discriminatory family law legislation favouring marital children over non-marital children resulting in changes to Irish law.
Acted in the first Divorce case granted where the parties were living with one another yet still qualified for a Divorce.
Advised in many international cases, involving assets in multiple jurisdictions.
Advised the Adoption Authority of Ireland on complex adoption issues.
Ciara has written and presented on a variety of family law issues and lectured for the Law Society of Ireland and the Dublin Solicitors Bar Association on aspects of family law, adoption and pensions in the family law context.
Ciara is the Author and Editor of Irish Family Law Precedents Services book published by Thomson Roundhall.
Admitted as a solicitor in 1997
B.A. (Hons)(Psychology) University College Dublin
Member of the Family Lawyers Association, the Dublin Solicitors Bar Association and the International Academy of Family Lawyers (European Chapter).