Available in 2018
Course code



10 units


6000 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. Understanding of the law as it relates to family relationships is central to knowledge both of substantive law and its practice. The course emphasises critical and policy appraisals of the relevant law.

Availability2018 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 1 - 2018

Learning outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of family law.

2. Identify and articulate complex legal and non-legal issues in family law problem scenarios.

3. Apply legal reasoning and research skills to generate appropriate responses to these issues,

4. Critically analyse family law problems to provide clients with appropriate advice and solutions over a range of dispute resolution alternatives.

5. Demonstrate 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,

6. Exhibit 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.

7. 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.

8. Demonstrate critical understanding of the importance in family law of knowledge and professionals outside the legal realm through communication and teamwork skills.


Topics in this course include:

  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.


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Juris Doctor/ Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice program.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS6001, LAWS6002A, LAWS6002B, LAWS6003A, LAWS6003B, LAWS6004A, LAWS6004B, LAWS6005.

Assessment items

Presentation: Presentations - Group based probe or law reform Presentation

Participation: Group Seminar Participation

Formal Examination: End of Semester Examination

Written Assignment: Law Reform Submission

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct


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

As well as weekly online activities.