Social System Law


Social workers have key responsibility in terms of confidentiality of the information relating to the individuals and families they work with. This is especially relevant when dealing with court proceedings related to children, which are subject to the “in Camera” rule. Discuss with reference to the benefits of increased reporting of child care and family law cases since 2014 and the disadvantages, if any for those who the subject of the proceedings, including children.

Essay Details

  • 900 words
  • Harvard Referencing
  • Wrote in Irish context. Use of laws and legislation
  • Good engagement with question answering all parts and using sufficient references to back it up.


Connolly, M. & Ward, T. (2008) Morals, Rights and Practice in the Human Services: Effective and Fair Decision-Making in Health, Social Care and Criminal Justice. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Taylor, B. (2010) Professional Decision Making in Social Work Practice. Exeter: Learning Matters.

************ Please see below notes which show different legislation and would be beneficial to reference throughout when answering question

In Camera Rule (Lecture notes)

  1. Section 29 of the Child Care Act 1991 – All child proceedings must be heard otherwise than in public – ie “ in camera” . It allows publication of a Judge’s decision, once it does not identify the child and attendance by members of the press with limited reporting. An application can be made to restrict the press access to any particular case or the release of particular information, which may identify a child.
  • Section 47 of the Child Care Act 1991 – special directions about a child in care, which often deal with matters such as lifting the “in Camera” rule with permission of the presiding Judge. 

Section 3 of the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2007 – establishment of the Child Law Reporting Project in November 2012, which allows organisations named in the legislation nominate people to attend and report on child care proceedings

Data Protection (Lecture Notes)

EU general data protection regulations (GDPR), Article 6 outlines that the processing by TUSLA / HSE / Public body as the data controller shall be lawful only where at least one of the following applies; 

  1. the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes;
  2. processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract;
  3. processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject;
  4. processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person;

)             processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public           interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller;

f)            processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by   the controller or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by         the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require               protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child.

A personal data breach is defined as breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed. TUSLA has a lawful basis to process, and where necessary to protect children, share this personal data under the 1991 Act, the 2013 Act and the 2015 Act. 

Data Protection Act 2018 – commenced in May 2018 in order to give effect to the GDPR “The legislation confers rights on individuals in relation to the privacy of their personal data as well as responsibilities on those persons holding and processing such data”.

Under the GDPR and Data Protection Acts 1988-2018, this TUSLA / HSE / Public bodies are Data Controllers and have a legal responsibility to:

  • obtain and process personal data lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner
  • keep it only for one or more specified and explicit lawful purpose(s)
  • process it only in ways compatible with the purpose of which it was given initially
  • keep data accurate, relevant and not excessive
  • retain it no longer than is necessary for the specified purpose or purposes
  • keep personal data safe and secure (

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