The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


5000 level

Course handbook


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; spousal maintenance, property division on separation and the role of family lawyers.

Availability2020 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 1 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. A critical and contextual understanding of family law, including underlying principles and concepts and law reform questions.

2. The capacity to identify legal and non-legal issues in law problem scenarios and apply legal reasoning and research skills to solve problems.

3. Awareness of the breadth and distinctiveness of the family lawyers' professional and ethical role in discharging responsibilities to clients, other professionals, the courts and the public.

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

5. An understanding of the importance communication and teamwork skills in family law and the ability to cogently present arguments orally and in writing.


The 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, divorce and separation
  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.


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws and associated combined degree programs or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and associated combined degree programs.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS1010, LAWS1011, LAWS1020, LAWS1021, LAWS2030, LAWS3040, LAWS3041, and LAWS4011.

Assessment items

Presentation: Group Law Reform Presentation

Formal Examination: End of Semester Examination

Quiz: 3 x Multiple Choice

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct

Online Activity

Self-Directed 1 hour(s) per Term Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term