New rules regarding the 'voice of the child' in family court cases are to be introducted shortly. 


At the moment, in cases concerning access, divorce, and custody, courts are obligated to hear what the child's opinion is concerning the matter.


They can either say it in person in court or they can do so through an expert, under the Children and Family Relationships Act. 



However, right now there is no clarity on the appointment of these experts, something the Department of Justice plans on changing.


Bringing in new rules, they hope to be able to regulate the appointment of experts who become the voice of the child in private family law cases. 


Until then, however, the Irish Times are reporting that cases involving the welfare of the child will probably take longer as the judge will have to speak to individual children themselves before making a decision.