Family Law

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Miss Helen Reece (MT) NAB 6.24

Additional Teacher(s): Dr Julie McCandless


This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law and LLB in Laws. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available to General Course students.

Course content

This is an exciting time to study Family Law! Maybe more than ever before, the family is in flux. With marriage rates tumbling, divorce rates escalating and reproductive technologies becoming normalised, record numbers of children are living outside the traditional nuclear family of their biological married mum and dad (the heteronormative family). What’s more, after centuries of exclusion, lesbians and gay men are on the brink of entering into the most sanctioned relationship of all – marriage. Is the traditional family dead, has it changed beyond all recognition, or is the family functioning much as it always has done? How does the law respond to the modern family, and how should the modern family be regulated? If you want to chew over these and a host of other fascinating questions, Family Law is the course for you.

Term 1: Adult Relations: 1. Introductory concepts: (a) Intervention in the family; (b) Discrimination against families, in the context of human rights legislation. 2. Marriage and Civil Partnerships: (a) the distinction; (b) Gender Recognition Act; (c) nullity. 3. Divorce and Dissolution 4. Financial provision: (a) conceptions of equality; (b) the legal framework for discretion. 5. Domestic violence: the legal framework, and the limits of legislation.

Term 2: Child Law: 1. Introductory concepts: (a) children’s welfare; (b) the welfare checklist; (c) legal parenthood; (d) parental responsibility: meaning and allocation. 2. Children and families: (a) legal framework; (b) regulation after relationship breakdown. 3. Children and the state: (a) care and supervision; (b) child abuse.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of lectures and 1 hour of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 essays in the MT and LT.

Indicative reading

Students are provided with a detailed syllabus and reading list for class topics. Basic reading for

each topic will be drawn from a number of sources including text books, cases and articles.

In case students wish to purchase any books the following are suggested:

Textbooks: Jonathan Herring, Family Law (7th edn, 2015, Pearson); Kate Standley and Paula Davies, Family Law (8th edn, 2013, Palgrave Macmillan); Stephen Gilmore and Lisa Glennon, Hayes and Williams' Family Law (4th edn, 2014, Oxford University Press); Rebecca Probert, Cretney and Probert's Family Law (9th edn, 2015, Sweet and Maxwell) Casebooks: Alison Diduck and Felicity Kaganas, Family Law, Gender and the State (3rd edn., 2012, Hart Publishing); Sonia Harris-Short, Joanna Miles and Rob George, Family Law: Text, Cases and Materials (3rd edn, 2015, Oxford University Press); Brenda Hale, David Pearl, Elizabeth Cooke and Daniel Monk, The Family, Law and Society: Cases and Materials (6th edn, 2009, Oxford University Press)

Reader: Jonathan Herring, Rebecca Probert and Stephen Gilmore, Great Debates in Family Law (2012, Palgrave Macmillan); Rob George, Ideas and Debates in Family Law (2012, Hart Publishing.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the main exam period.

Approved statutory materials may be taken into the examination in accordance with School Regulations.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2015/16: 47

Average class size 2015/16: 16

Capped 2015/16: Yes (50)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 64%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)