Undergraduate Module Descriptor

LAW3020: Family Law

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.


NQF Level 5
Credits 30 ECTS Value 15
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (12 weeks) and term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Professor Liz Trinder (Convenor)

Available via distance learning


Family law is an exciting and topical module which explores how the law and family justice system operate to regulate both adult relationships and relationships between parents and children.

By analysing the legal and policy framework for family law in the context of the changing ways that people partner and parent, you will engage in an assessment of the effectiveness of the current family justice system and consider and debate proposals for reform of the law and the relevance of international regulation to aspects of law in this field. You will also explore relevant socio- legal research in this area and consider its importance to the development of family law in the 21st century. Within the module, you will consider the role of family law and the legal definition of family in the 21st century. You will consider the formation, termination and legal consequences of the adult relationships of marriage, civil partnership/gay marriage and cohabitation as well as the legal regulation of relationships between parents and children. Topical issues include the adequacy of remedies for domestic violence; the use of pre-nuptial agreements; the introduction of gay marriage; parentage and artificial reproduction and how to achieve fairness in asset distribution on relationship breakdown. You will explore recent radical changes in the Family Justice system, including withdrawal of legal aid from private family law court disputes, shifts towards alternative methods of dispute resolution, such as mediation and collaborative law and consider the greater proposed use of post-separation shared parenting and its impact on children.  You will also explore issues around who the law regards as a parent and how the state intervenes in family life and attempts to protect children in dangerous families.

Legal Foundations LAW1022 is a Pre-Requisite for this module. Subject to this, students from other Units may take the module.

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