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Unit information: Advanced Family Law in 2018/19

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Unit name Advanced Family Law
Unit code LAWD30002
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Hitchings
Open unit status Not open

LAWD20036 Family Law



School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The unit will build on and extend students' knowledge by exploring key themes in family law relating to children and adults, which are subject to the competing pressures of paternalism and autonomy. In particular, in child law it will examine state support for families in need; state intervention for child protection including and the provision of substitute families by adoption. Relating to adults it will examine the extent to which individuals are able to make their own financial arrangements for themselves or their children when entering or leaving formal or informal relationships (marriage/ civil partnership/ cohabitation). It will develop students' knowledge and understanding of the role and limits of law and the state in regulating relationships between adults, and parents and children.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:
• Give a clear account of case and statute law relating to: financial / property allocation on divorce/dissolution and on the breakdown of informal relationships; Public child law – the law relating to family support, child protection, state care and adoption, and the implications of arts 3,6 and 8 of the ECHR for these areas of law.
• Describe the current application of the law through familiarity with empirical research literature and case studies.
• Summarize the law, processes and practices in legal and non-legal language.
• Analyse legal problems and issues to identify potential strategies and solutions.
• Develop realistic solutions to problems through a synthesis of case law and research/ practice evidence on the operation of the law.
• Assess the application of the law and reform proposals in terms of their ability to respond to the competing rights and interests.
• Find and use primary legal materials to answer questions and extend/update their knowledge of the subjects studied through analysis/synthesis, critical judgment and evaluation.

Teaching details

10 lectures (including enhancement sessions) and 10 two-hour seminars

Assessment Details

10 formative assessments: 10 x 150 word coursework. Formative assessments do not count towards final mark and can be optional.

2 x summative assessments: 2 x 2,000 word coursework. Summative assessments do count towards final mark. The assessments will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

  • Law Commission (2014) LC 343, Marital Property, Needs and Agreements, TSO; Douglas, G et al (2007) A failure of Trust, UoB/ Cardiff University; J. Fortin (2009) Children's Rights and the developing law, Oxford: OUP; Pearce, J et al (2011) Just following instructions, UoB.
  • Family Law Statutes 2016-17; Bromley’s Family Law (11th ed); Herring Family Law (7th ed) Probert and Harding (9th ed) is useful for Financial Remedies but does not provide sufficient detail on Public Child Law