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Law 241: Family, Law and Society

(Full unit taught in 1st, 2nd terms)


Dr Sarah Beresford and Dr Sara Fovargue

This course seeks to explain, analyse and evaluate the legal rules, concepts and values governing and regulating family relationships. It will locate the development of Family Law, including the institutions and procedures, within a broad historical, demographic and social context. Critical and informed discussion of the relationship between families and the State will be encouraged, and the interface between family law and family policy, the roles of women, men and children within families, and various theoretical perspectives on family law explored. The course will analyse the legal and social construction and regulation of childhood, and the law's relationship(s) between children, parents and the state. It will encourage reflection on issues under contemporary debate.

(This course is available to second year students only. However, exceptions may be made in the case of fourth year students). The successful completion of Law 101 is a prerequisite for this course.


Coursework 60% (40% written, 20% oral presentation)
Unseen examination 40%

Background Reading

Bainham, A., Children - The Modern Law 3 rd ed. (2005) Jordan .

Cretney, S.M., Masson, J.M., Bailey-Harris, R., Principles of Family Law 7 th ed. (2003) Sweet & Maxwell.

Diduck, A., Kaganas, F., Family Law, Gender and the State - Text, Cases and Materials 2 nd ed (2006) Hart.

Fortin, J., Children's Rights and the Developing Law 2 nd ed. (2003) CUP.

Herring, J., Family Law 2 nd ed. (2004) Longman.

Books may be published before the course starts in October 2007 so students may wish to wait until the Law 241 Course Handbook has been published, which will include the latest information on books, before purchasing a text.

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