In this submission to the Open Consultation of the Judicial Planning Working Group, the Action for Children and Families of Prisoners Network contributes to the theme of ‘development of judicial skills’.

In this submission, the Network notes the need for judicial training in relation to children’s rights and their role in all decision-making where a child is affected. In particular, it draws attention to Recommendation 4 in IPRT’s Piecing it Together: Supporting Children and Families with a Family Member in Prison in Ireland report. This recommendation, comprised of 3 sub-recommendations, focuses on enshrining in law and practice the principle of Prison as a Last Resort for primary caregivers. It recommends that the Judicial Studies Committee provide training to all judges on the impact of imprisonment of a primary carer on children. It also recommends that the Department of Justice consider implementing a formal process whereby a child’s voice can be heard in all judicial decisions that may affect the child.

In the submission, the Network notes a list of key rights that underscore the need for judicial training in relation to this issue.

The submission can be read in full here.