Module Catalogue 2023/24

LAW3036 : Family Law

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Richard Collier
  • Lecturer: Mrs Penny Booth
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



(1) To provide students with a knowledge and understanding of the various status relationships which exist (e.g. spouse, cohabitant, parent) and of the consequences which flow from them.

(2) To foster an understanding and knowledge of the social and theoretical foundations which underpin the law and to introduce the student to some of the legal, moral, social and political debates which inform the substantive content of family law.

(3) To consider selected aspects of the existing law and current reform proposals in detail and how family law has responded to the changing nature of 'family life' in modern society.

Outline Of Syllabus

What is 'family law'? The relationship between law and families

Marriage, Cohabitation and Civil Partnerships

Divorce, Separation and Mediation

What is a Parent?

Law and Parental Responsibility

Children, the Welfare Principle and Private Law Disputes over Children

Domestic Abuse

Family Property

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

1. To enable students to develop an appreciation of the fundamental concepts and functions of family law within its social, historical context.

2. To demonstrate detailed knowledge of a selected range of areas of the English law relating to 'families', to analyse the nature of 'family law' as a sub-field of legal study and the legal rules, concepts, and values that have governed and regulated families.

3. The ability to analyse and evaluate the existing law in the light of legal, social, political and moral questions raised.

4. The ability to engage in informed debate concerning proposed reforms to the existing law and approaches to the relationship between law and families as they have developed within a body of legal, sociological and socio-legal scholarship.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Subject Specific Skills

(1) Ability to write and speak with care and precision in the analysis and synthesis of the law;

(2) Ability to structure argument and analysis; using the interpretative methods and strategies of a range of approaches to legal scholarship;

(3) Ability to identify issues for research and to retrieve accurate and relevant legal and other sources in primary and secondary form, both in paper and digital formats.

Cognitive Skills

(1) Analysis. Identifying and ordering issues by relevance and importance.

(2) Synthesis of materials from diverse sources.

(3) Critical judgement. Discernment between the merits or otherwise of particular arguments.

(4) Evaluation. Making a reasoned choice between competing solutions or arguments.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion170:0070:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials61:006:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture181:0018:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study197:0097:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures (or an online version if required) The principal teaching method to the module is lectures. The lectures will introduce and discuss core family law material across each of the designated subject areas. In-person lectures will be supported with detailed handbooks, structured online guidance and activities
Lecture materials Pre-recorded materials will be provided to introduce or scaffold material covered during in-person or online lectures, cover topic areas that may not be addressed in in person lectures and/or provide guidance on assessment components
Seminars (small group teaching) There will be five seminars that provide the opportunity to develop oral, interpretation and evaluative skills. Content will follow the substantive areas addressed by the module: topics envisaged for 23-24 will map to 22/23 (content subject to variation) (1) What is a family/what is family law (coursework focus); (2) Marriage, Cohabitation, Civil Partnership; (3) Parenthood and, (4) Parental Responsibility/Child protection Revision. The seminars will encourage an active, integrated approach to the study of law and offer an opportunity for detailed discussion of issues covered in the lectures, for developing and practicing essential skills, and for asking questions and obtaining feedback on student progress. Each seminar is one hour long. Students will be asked a series of questions designed to provide the knowledge and confidence with the topic required to complete the summative assessment for the module. All seminars will be synchronous events (whether online or present-in-person)
Skills practice / quizzes Canvas activities, where appropriate, will support the lecture materials by providing structured non-synchronous discussion.
Drop-in/Surgery sessions These sessions reflect the Law School assessment and feedback policy, that markers will offer the opportunity for feedback on students' assessed work. Dedicated sessions will be made available for consultation with lecturers and seminarists (time given is indicative)
Independent study Students’ skills and knowledge base can be further developed in private study, which takes the form of directed reading in advance of lectures, consolidation following lectures and preparation for seminars, appropriate for a stage 3 subject.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination14402A10024 hr take home paper. 3 of 6 questions.
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Written exerciseMMCQs not weighted, students required to complete as component of module
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Written Examination 1 - This will be a ‘take-home’ paper for the 24-hour period. The examination will consist of unseen questions covering the remaining substantive elements of the module syllabus.

The examination allows the students

(1) to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the selected substantive areas
(2) to demonstrate ability to select the most pertinent of arguments related to posed questions on the module syllabus
(3) to demonstrate knowledge, understanding and subject-specific, cognitive and key skills
(4) to demonstrate the intended learning outcomes across a range of topics within the syllabus

The formative assessment is provided in the form of MCQs that are structured around the lecture material and small-group classes, allowing students to test their knowledge of the law. These are non-weighted, and the number of correctly answered questions does not count to the final grade, but they are important for skill development. Overall, MCQ are as form of guided learning activity.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023/24 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.