Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

Family law is a fascinating and dynamic subject that raises important issues of social policy. The course focuses on the way that the law regulates entry into, behaviour during, and exit from, certain types of adult relationships. Until relatively recently English law conferred rights on couples only if they were married. Over the last thirty years, however, new rights have been conferred on cohabiting couples (although the rights of such couples remain less extensive than those of their married counterparts), and since 2005 same-sex couples have had the option of entering into a civil partnership, which confers almost exactly the same rights as a marriage. One of the fundamental questions addressed in the course is how the law differentiates between different types of adult relationships.

Principal learning outcomes

Students are encouraged to set the issues in context by reading a wide range of materials and researching the social background to particular legal issues. For example, in one student-led seminar students are required to research an aspect of divorce – the number of divorces, the rate of divorce, the grounds relied upon, the background of those divorcing – in order to understand the effect of the law. Students are also encouraged to think about the way in which the law operates in practice, and the second student-led seminar is devoted to a role-play in which students try to put academic principles into practice by representing a divorcing couple and negotiating a settlement.

Departmental link

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: LA359-15)
A (Assessed work only) 3000 word essay (Term 1) 100%
B (Examination only) 2 hour examination (Non-Finalists) 100%
B1 (Examination only) 2 hour examination (Finalists) 100%
VA (Visiting students only) 100% assessed (part year) visiting 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core