Family Law

Subject 730-313 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008. Search for this in the current handbook Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 2-hour lecture per week
Total Time Commitment: 144 hours
Prerequisites: Legal Method and Reasoning; Principles of Public Law; Torts; Legal Theory; Property or in each case their equivalents.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Professor B Fehlberg
Subject Overview:

The central aim of this subject is to consider how, why, and in whose interests the law intervenes in family relationships on relationship breakdown. The subject aims to develop students' understanding not only of ‘black letter' law (case law and statute), but also of family law in its broader social context, including an understanding of the processes of social policy reform.

The subject is divided into three topic areas:

  • 1. Overview of the family law system
  • 2. Children and parents
  • 3. Financial aspects of relationship breakdown
Assessment: 1500 word case note or policy-based essay, (essay topics/cases will be listed in the Reading Guide) due week 7 of semester 1 (worth 50% of the final mark in the subject) AND final written examination two hours (worth 50% of the final mark in the subject).The written examination will be open-book. Duration 30 minutes reading time and 2 hours writing time.
Prescribed Texts: Belinda Fehlberg and Juliet Behrens, Australian Family Law: The Contemporary Context (Melbourne: OUP, 2007).
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • attitudes towards knowledge that include openness to new ideas and ethics associated with knowledge creation and usage
  • the capacity for close reading and analysis of a range of sources
  • the capacity for critical and independent thought and reflection
  • the capacity to solve problems, including through the collection and evaluation of information
  • the capacity to communicate, both orally and in writing
  • the capacity to plan and manage time
  • intercultural sensitivity and understanding
  • sensitivity and understanding of issues confronting families affected by violence

In addition, on completion of this subject students should have developed the following skills specific to the discipline of law:

  • case reading and analysis, including an ability to:
    • extract important features from judgments;
    • reconcile judgments;
    • evaluate the development of legal principles; and
    • apply legal principles arising from case law to new situations;
  • statutory reading, interpretation and analysis, including an ability to:
    • extract important features from statutes;
    • evaluate the development of statutory rules; and
    • use, interpret and apply statutory provisions to new situations;
  • hypothetical problem solving, including an ability to:
  • o identify legal issues arising in complex fact situations;
  • o identify and apply relevant case law and statutory principles; and
  • o provide advice as to the rights and obligations of the parties

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