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PhD project - No Easy Divorce? Legal Pathways to dissolution in Ireland

   Graduate Research School Office

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  Dr Deirdre Mcgowan  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The law governing divorce in Ireland is largely unchanged since first enacted in 1996. A constitutional referendum and implementing legislation in 2019 reduced the time that spouses must live apart before applying for divorce, but despite repeated calls for more substantive reform no further steps have been taken by policy makers. Current reform efforts are directed toward improving efficiency in dispute resolution by promoting the use of mediation and reforming the operation of the family courts. Whilst these reforms are necessary, they largely ignore the barriers to effective dispute resolution embedded within a constitutional and legislative framework designed in the early 1990s to protect marriage.

This research aims to provide an evidence base to inform a broader reform of divorce law. It will do this in two ways:

1. A doctrinal analysis of Irish legislation, case law and court rules governing divorce to establish the legal parameters within which marriages are ended and a corresponding, comparative analysis of the recently reformed regime in England and Wales.

2. A structured analysis of a large sample of Circuit Court divorce cases to ascertain how legal rules and processes shape the route from marriage breakdown to divorce in Ireland.

Using this evidence, the research will identify legislative requirements that exacerbate conflict, prolong the litigation process and impede effective dispute resolution, and make proposals for reform.

Student Requirements for this Project

Minimum 2.1 Hons degree in Law or related subject OR a professional qualification in Law with 2.1 Hons Degree in any discipline

If you are interested in submitting an application for this project, please complete an Expression of Interest available here:

Funding Notes

Funding details
Student Stipend per annum € 18,500
Materials & Travel Budget per annum € 2600
Fees covered by the funding per annum € 4500 (EU) or 9000 (non-EU)
Funding available for 4 years
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