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LAW3036 : Family Law

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • 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


(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

Child Protection

Dangerous Families: Domestic Violence

Family Property

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion170:0070:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials61:006:00A combination of short recordings of lecture material and text published on Canvas each week.
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 four 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 21-22 will map to 20/21 (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. 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 will support the lecture materials by providing structured non-synchronous discussion e.g. MCQ will contribute to activities ahead of the formative and summative assessments
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.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1352A7524 hr take home paper. 3 of 6 questions.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M251,000 Words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Written Exercise 1 (coursework) will take the form of an essay which examines aspects of ‘what is a family’ to

(1) allow the students to practice, develop and demonstrate their research skills in the initial issue of the family law module
(2) present coherent arguments supported by appropriate legal materials within a confined coursework element focusing on an essential
(3) affords the student an opportunity to demonstrate sophisticated written communication skills

Written Exercise 2 (the examination) will take the form of an examination requiring a two hour and 15 minute paper of 5 or 6 posed questions in the substantive areas of the module. 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

Reading Lists