module specification

LC7038 - Family Law and Practice (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Family Law and Practice
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 13.5
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 120
96 hours Guided independent study
24 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Open Book Examination 100% 50 Three hour exam
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester City Tuesday Afternoon
Spring semester City Tuesday Morning
Spring semester City Monday Afternoon
Spring semester City Monday Morning
Spring semester City Thursday Morning
Spring semester City Wednesday Evening
Spring semester City Tuesday Evening
Spring semester City Monday Evening
Spring semester City Thursday Afternoon
Spring semester City Thursday Evening

Module summary

This module offers a balance between the teaching of substantive law, practice and practical skills and focuses on common types of cases dealt with by family lawyers.

Module aims

The aims of the Family Law and Practice elective are to:

  1. prepare students for work-based learning in a Family Law department; and
  2. provide a foundation for practice generally and Family Law work in particular.


Private Law Children Act matters
Ancillary Relief
Domestic Abuse

Learning and teaching

8 one-hour tutor-led sessions (TLS) (40 learning hours) and 8 two-hour student-led sessions (SLS) (80 learning hours). The TLS are one week ahead of the SLS’s to allow students time for reflection. Students are required to prepare questions in the SLS’s in advance of each session.

Learning outcomes

At the end of an elective, successful students, under appropriate supervision, should be able in the context of family of law and practice to:

  1. demonstrate their knowledge and understanding and employ the applicable skills in family of law and practice including divorce, ancillary relief, domestic violence, matters involving children and relationship breakdown for non-married couples
  2. use the legal knowledge, skills, procedures and behaviours appropriate to each family law client and each transaction or matter
  3. identify the overall nature of the family law dispute, then plan and progress that matter through a series of steps and decisions including, where appropriate, drafting documentation
  4. identify the client's goals and alternative means of achieving those goals, understanding the importance of negotiation and encouraging the settlement of a dispute in accordance with best practice professional guidelines and deal appropriately with client care
  5. investigate and identify the relevant facts, research and identify the relevant legal issues, and advise the client on the legal consequences
  6. recognise and act within the rules of professional conduct
  7. identify the client’s reasonable expectations as to quality and timeliness of service

Element 1 – Divorce
Students should :

  1. be able to competently advise a client in relation to divorce proceedings, to include practical advice on funding and negotiation and the drafting relevant correspondence;
  2. have a full understanding of undefended divorce procedure up to and including obtaining decree absolute and be able to draft all necessary documentation to progress the case for a Petitioner.

Element 2 – Private Law Children matters
Students should: 

  1. be familiar with funding issues in relation to instructions to act on a private law  matter concerning children;
  2. be able to draft competently relevant court documentation;
  3. be able to advise in relation to issues concerning parental responsibility;
  4. be able to provide appropriate advice to a client on the factors the court will take into account on a private law application for an order in relation to children and how they will be applied

Element 3 – Ancillary Relief
Students should

  1. be able to recommend appropriate action to be taken and have consideration for important preliminary matters on receipt by a client of instructions to issue ancillary relief proceedings;
  2. have an understanding the law and enforceability of pre-nuptial agreements;
  3. be able to advise on the procedure for ancillary relief applications and draft appropriate documents, to include a Consent Order;
  4. be able to advise a client on preliminary issues concerning child maintenance and welfare benefits;
  5. have a full understanding of the application of ancillary relief law and provide appropriate advice in the context of a case, to include advice on costs and negotiation;
  6. 6. have an appreciation of law and procedure in relation to preventing and setting aside dispositions and provide appropriate advice on varying orders and enforcing them.
  7. Element 4 – Domestic Abuse

Students should :

  1. have an understanding of the law and procedure in relation to applications to the Court for occupation and non-molestation orders;
  2. be able to identify and complete the relevant documentation to apply for occupation and non-molestation orders;
  3. be able to advise fully on the manner in which domestic abuse can effect Children Act applications

Element 5 – Co-habitation
Students should:

  1. understand the law in relation to the rights of cohabitants in making claims against former partner’s estates on death;
  2. have an appreciation of salient advice that can be given to clients on the value of cohabitation agreements;
  3. be familiar with the law in relation to the rights of cohabitating couples to continue to occupy property following relationship breakdown.

Assessment strategy

The assessment is an open book exam with advance disclosure of documents and is of a transactional nature. This form of assessment is designed to replicate practice and enable students to demonstrate the application of legal principles in a realistic, practical context.


CLP Family Law and Practice 2015

Additional texts
Family Law Statutes
Hayes and Williams' Family Law, OUP
Practitioners’ texts
The Family Law Protocol
Butterworth’s Family Law Service.
The Family Court Practice, Family Law.
Sweet & Maxwell: Practical Matrimonial Precedents: Burrows
Wood, Lush and Bishop:  Cohabitation: Law, Practice and Precedents

Electronic sources (general family database, includes Butterworths Family Law Service, Rayden & Jackson, Clarke Hall Morrison, Jackson on Taxation, Essential Family Practice, Legislation, Family Court Reports and Reporter, Unreported transcripts and Forms and Precedents from EF&P) (Jordans Publishing website) (Lord Chancellor’s Dept.) (useful for reported cases) (House of Lords website – good source of reported cases) (HMSO legislation) (The Law Society Library) (human rights) (general information) (general information – also provides useful links)