Family Law

Course code LAWS5063Units 10Level 5000Faculty of Business and LawNewcastle Law School

This course will introduce students to the law regulating family relationships within formal marriage and de facto relationships where governed by Commonwealth law. The course takes a law in context approach, examining key aspects of family law in Australia in their social and political context. It examines the strengths and weaknesses of existing law and the effect of law reform. It supports the development of knowledge relevant to practice in family law. Topics covered include the legal regulation of families; forms of family dispute resolution; violence within families and responses to violence; parental responsibility and decisions in relation to children following separation; the best interests of children and children's rights; child support, spousal maintenance, and property division on separation; role of family lawyers; law reform.

Available in 2015

Callaghan CampusSemester 1
Previously offered in 2014
ObjectivesOn successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of family law, including: underlying principles and concepts that inform how the law defines a family and regulates personal relationships; the social context in which legal issues arise; and the principles and values of justice and ethics that underlie family lawyers’ roles.

2. Demonstrate the ability to identify and articulate legal and non-legal issues in family law problem scenarios, apply legal reasoning and research skills to generate appropriate responses to these issues, and engage in critical analysis and creative problem solving to provide clients with appropriate advice and solutions over a range of dispute resolution alternatives.

3. Demonstrate awareness of the breadth and distinctiveness of the family lawyers’ professional and ethical role and developing ability to uphold the highest ethical standards in discharging responsibilities to clients, other professionals, the courts and the public, taking account of the need to develop superior oral and written communication skills that enable sensitive communication with clients in the context of legal proceedings that often have a profoundly emotional dimension.

4. Demonstrate ability to critically evaluate the impact of family law and law reform in the contemporary context and the ability to contribute constructively to law reform in this area.

5. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the importance in family law of knowledge and professionals outside the legal realm, and communication and teamwork skills required to work collaboratively with legal and non-legal professionals in order to provide high quality family law services to individual clients, employers, and government.

6. Demonstrate the ability to work both as part of a team and independently, reflecting the ability to be self-aware and to make use of feedback as appropriate to support personal and professional development.
ContentThe course will include the following topics:
1. The constitutional framework of family law and jurisdiction of courts dealing with family law
2. Marriage, de facto relationships, nullity and divorce
3. Forms of family dispute resolution
4. Family violence
5. Parental responsibility; decision making about children; children's rights and best interests.
6. Property: the meaning of property and financial resources and alteration of property interests under the FLA;
7. Professional practice, roles and ethics of family lawyers
8. Family Law Procedure including less adversarial trials
9. Law reform in family law and the relevance of interdisciplinary knowledge and research.
Replacing Course(s)NA
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeLAWS1001A, LAWS1001B, LAWS1002A, LAWS1002B, LAWS2003A, LAWS2003B, LAWS3004A, LAWS3004B, LAWS4011
Modes of DeliveryInternal Mode
Teaching MethodsLecture
Assessment Items
Examination: FormalIn the University Examination period
Group/tutorial participation and contributiongroup seminar participation
Presentations - GroupGroup case probe presentation
Quiz - On-lineMultiple Choice
Contact HoursSeminar: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Lecture: for 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Compulsory Components
Requisite by EnrolmentThis course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws and associated combined degree programs or the Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and associated combined degree programs.
Timetables2015 Course Timetables for LAWS5063