Available in 2021
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. 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.

Availability2021 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 1 - 2021

Learning outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate an Understanding of family law, including underlying principles and concepts.

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. Critically evaluate the impact of family law reform in the contemporary context

5. An Understanding of the importance of communication skills in the practice of family law and the ability to demonstrate persuasive written communication 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. 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, or in a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) combined program.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS6000 Legal System and Method I, and LAWS6001 Legal System and Method II

LAWS6002A Torts Part A, or LAWS6120 Torts I

LAWS6002B Torts Part B, or LAWS6121 Torts II

LAWS6003A & LAWS6003B Criminal Law & Procedure Part A & B, or LAWS6130 Criminal Law & Procedure

LAWS6004A Contracts Part A, or LAWS6140 Contracts I

LAWS6004B Contracts Part B, or LAWS6141 Contracts II

LAWS6005 Property

Assessment items

In Term Test: End of Semester Take Home Examination

Written Assignment: Letter of advice

Quiz: 2 x Multiple Choice Quizzes

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct


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

As well as weekly online activities.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.