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Family Law - LAWS3391
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Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  Faculty of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Undergraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 3
Enrolment Requirements:
Prerequisite: LAWS1001 and LAWS1011 and Corequisite: LAWS2311; Prerequisite: JURD7101 and JURD7111 and Corequisite: JURD7211
Excluded: JURD7491
CSS Contribution Charge:Band 3 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


Family Law deals primarily with the legal principles, processes and institutions applicable to different types of domestic relationships, especially those arising from marriage and various forms of unmarried cohabitation (heterosexual and same-sex), and those arising between parents and children. The course will be especially relevant to students with an interest in the legal regulation of family relationships, including issues arising from sex and gender and notions of children’s rights, and to students who wish to qualify themselves for general legal practice (especially in suburban and country firms) or for specialised family law practice.

Recommended Prior Knowledge


Course Objectives

As a result of activity at both the federal and state levels in recent years, the volume of family law legislation and case law has grown dramatically, both in the central area of the regulation of domestic relationships and the resolution of disputes arising from relationship breakdown, and also in relation to the links between family law and other areas of law dealing with child welfare, bankruptcy, corporations, trusts and superannuation, and succession and family provision. For this reason, the Family Law course is presented as an introductory "overview" type of course, rather than one which purports to provide extremely detailed coverage of each relevant topic. The main objectives are:
  • To give a thorough outline of the fundamental principles, processes and institutions involved in federal and state family law
  • To develop a critical perspective on the operation and interaction of the various areas of family law, with an awareness of the social and economic context in which family law operates
  • To emphasise the relevance of empirical, historical and comparative material (both legal and non-legal) to the analysis and understanding of family law issues
  • To develop skills necessary for the formulation of legal advice and argument in family law situations, as well as the provision of practical advice designed to encourage the peaceful resolution of family law disputes
  • To develop a sense of the ethical issues, both professional and otherwise, which arise in the family law context

Main Topics

  • Perspectives on 'family', historical background, and constitutional aspects
  • Marriage and other domestic relationships
  • Divorce
  • Financial aspects
  • Parents and children
  • Process in family law
  • Domestic violence
  • Status of children


Class participation (0-20%, optional and maximisable); and
2 exams (50% each); or
1 exam and research essay (50% each)

Note on assessment in Summer Semester:
Class Participation (0-20%, optional and maximisable)
1 casenote (25%)
1 exam (75%)

Course Texts

There is no prescribed text book for the course. Instead, students will be required to obtain the following volumes of materials from the University Bookshop:

  • Introductory Perspectives, Historical Background, Constitutional Aspects, Marriage and Divorce
  • Financial Adjustment (Spousal Maintenance, Property Adjustment, Financial Agreements, Non-Marital Relationships, Comment and Reform)
  • Parents and Children, Process, Domestic Violence, Status of Children
In addition, it is important that each student have an up-to-date copy of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), including amendments which came into force on 1 March 2009.

Refer to Course Outline provided by lecturer.


Refer to Course Outline provided by lecturer.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.