LA0837 - FAMILY LAW

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SYNOPSIS OF MODULE

This module is one of the electives available to students during Stage 2 of the Legal Practice Course and forms part of the General Practice Route elective group.

The content of this module covers some of the issues relevant to family and child matters.
The aim of this module is to provide students with an appreciation of the legal and practical issues which form the foundation of family practice, with particular emphasis on the breakdown of relationships and dealing with the consequences.. The legal skills of negotiating, drafting and practical research are also further developed in a context.

The module is delivered by a combination of large group sessions, small group sessions, directed and independent learning. The module is assessed by examination.

INDICATIVE READING LIST OR OTHER LEARNING RESOURCES

LPC Guide to Family Law Black, Bridge and Bond.
Oxford University Press.

Blackstones Statutes in Family Law. Oldham, Oxford University Press.

A Practical Approach to Family Law Black, Bridge and Bond.
Oxford University Press

Ancillary Relief Handbook Roger Bird Family Law
E-Learning Portal Site and Materials
A range of materials to support both large and small group sessions and to facilitate directed learning will be provided via the Family Law e-learning portal site.

OUTLINE SYLLABUS

Element 1 Preliminary Matters

Students should develop an understanding of the need to take thorough instructions at the first interview, to be able to give advice upon the appropriate remedies and have an awareness of the possible range of urgent matters which may require immediate attention and should be able to:-

1. Identify the preliminary matters to take into account when instructed by a family law client.
2. Demonstrate an ability to identify the needs of the client and give appropriate advice upon the remedies available and the implications thereof.
3. Demonstrate an ability to appreciate the funding issues in respect of both privately paying and publicly funded clients.
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the nature and effect of the statutory charge and the methods of mitigating the same.




Element 2 Divorce Proceedings

Students should develop an understanding of the substantive law relating to divorce and its practical application and should be able to:-

1. Identify on what basis the court has jurisdiction to entertain the petition and the matters to be complied with under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 to satisfy eligibility to issue a Petition.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the practical application of the substantive law including the ground for divorce, the fact relied upon and the impact of cohabitation after marriage breakdown under s2 of the MCA 1973.
3. Demonstrate an understanding and apply the procedure to be followed to obtain a decree absolute.
4. To draft, review and amend a divorce petition and statement in support of the children and be aware of the additional forms required to complete the divorce process, including an affidavit in support of the petition, statement of reconciliation and the application for the decree absolute.
5. Demonstrate an awareness of some commonly encountered problems in divorce procedure and the strategies for their resolution.
6. Demonstrate an understanding of the strategies available under the MCA 1973 to protect a respondent’s claim for orders for ancillary relief.
7. Demonstrate an awareness of the possible sources of funding for divorce proceedings and its impact on divorce procedure.




Element 4 Ancillary Relief Proceedings

Students should develop a knowledge and understanding of the substantive law, practice and procedure for ancillary relief applications and should be able to:-

1. Identify the forms of ancillary relief available and their principal characteristics
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the forms of financial relief available to
children.
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the consequences for the client of an
order for ancillary relief being made.
4 Demonstrate an ability to comply with the procedure for an order for ancillary
relief following divorce.
5 Demonstrate an ability to draft, review and amend a consent order.



Element 5 Private Law under Children Act 1989


Students should develop a knowledge and understanding of the substantive law, practice and procedure in relation to children and should be able to:-

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the nature and operation of parental responsibility.
2. Advise a client as to whether or not they have parental responsibility and if not, how they might acquire it.
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the orders available under s8 of the Children Act 1989.
4. Advise a client on their eligibility to apply for a s8 order appropriate to their needs
5. Understand the procedure for obtaining a section 8 order
6. Draft the application for leave to apply for a s8 order and the application for a s8 order and prepare and present submissions as to the directions sought at the first appointment.


Element 6 Methods of Preventing Violence and Molestation

Students should develop a knowledge and understanding of substantive law, procedure and practice in respect of occupation orders and non molestation orders and should be able to:-

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the remedies available to protect a client from molestation and domestic violence and the procedure for obtaining such remedies.
2. Identify and advise upon the appropriate remedy under the FLA 1996 and draft the application and statement in support.
3. Identify and advise upon enforcement procedures in the event of non compliance with the order.


Element 7 The position of cohabitants

Students should develop a knowledge and understanding of the substantive law, procedure and practice in relation to occupation and ownership of property, maintenance for children and the position of the unmarried father and should be able to:-

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the law in relation to Resulting and Constructive trusts and the remedies available under the Trusts of Land & Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.
2. Identify and advise upon the legal and practical issues of securing the right to occupy a property.
3. To advise upon the obligations to provide maintenance for children and the rights of the unmarried father in relation to their children including parental responsibility.

AIMS OF MODULE

This elective aims to provide students with:
an appreciation of the law which forms the foundation of family practice with particular reference to the consequences of the breakdown of relationships;
an awareness of drafting issues in standard forms and court documents;;
an appreciation of the relevance of Human Rights legislation;
a knowledge and understanding of the appropriateness of different remedies;
a knowledge and understanding of issues relating to risk, conduct and regulation issues.

It is also designed to enable students to further develop:
practical legal research and drafting skills acquired during Stage 1;
negotiation skills;
an appreciation of the financial implications of family litigation.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

On completion of the Family Law vocational elective, students should:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the law and practice involved in routine family transactions, e.g. divorce and ancillary matters such as finance and property, children and domestic violence.
2. Identify and implement the client’s instructions, recognising the inevitable conflicts in this sensitive area, and ensuring compliance with the professional practice rules relating to instruction giving, levels of service, expectations and time-scales.
3. Be aware of the various methods of funding available and the costs, benefits and risks involved in the transaction or courses of action including the impact of public funding and the statutory charge.
4. Draft, review and amend all relevant documents for divorce proceedings, proceedings under the Family Law Act 1996 and the Children Act 1989, drawing on appropriate precedents but recognising the significance of the specific facts of the case. In particular, the elective encourages students to build their skills in drafting, practical legal research, problem solving techniques and critical analysis.
5. Recognise and act within the rules of professional conduct and the guidance contained in the Family Law Protocol
6. Build upon the knowledge and understanding of transactions developed in Property Law & Practice (e.g. registration of home rights, severance of joint tenancy and trusts law), Business Law and Practice (e.g. taxation regimes), Wills and Probate (e.g. the need for and terms of a will following relationship breakdown

PREREQUISITES

NONE

COREQUISITES

NONE

DISTANCE LEARNING DELIVERY

N/A

LEARNING AND TEACHING STRATEGY

The module will be delivered through a combination of large and small group sessions, directed learning and independent learning.

The large group sessions will be delivered to the entire module cohort and will be used in part to introduce students to the major principles of each topic. They will place these principles in context by examining them against relevant factual scenarios.

The small group sessions (which will consist of between 16 – 20 students), will, in conjunction with the directed and independent learning, expand on the material covered in the large group sessions with emphasis on the use of practical scenarios as the basis for relevant skills based and interactive sessions to apply that material to the scenario. For example, some of the sessions will include the opportunity to participate in relevant role play. Other sessions will require problem solving skills to identify key issues, plan strategies for taking problems forward and drafting aspects of the necessary documentation to do so. Where appropriate to the subject area students will be required to analyse and critique relevant legal material.

Students will be given directed learning which will both expand on the materials provided in the large group sessions and cover specific topics not dealt with in those sessions. This will be supported by formative self test and multiple choice questions. Students will also be expected to carry out independent learning to both expand on the materials covered in the large group sessions and directed learning and to prepare for the tasks in the small group sessions. Examples of independent learning will include locating and reading relevant legal source material.

ASSESSMENT STRATEGY

Summative assessment and rationale for tasks

Summative assessment will be provided by an examination made up of a one hour closed book multiple choice paper plus a two hour open book practical paper based on advance documents. The use of advance documents allows the subject team greater opportunity to test knowledge and application in the examination and allows greater use of realistic legal scenarios.

b. Additional formative assessment – detail of process and rationale

Formative assessment will be provided by multiple choice questions which students will complete in the small group sessions.

c. Indication of how students will get feedback and how this will support their learning

The multiple choice questions are undertaken in a small group session and feedback given during this session. Students are given the opportunity to do a mock examination in the final small group session and are given feedback.

IMLPLICATIONS FOR CHOICE

NONE

Course info

Credits 1

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time
1 other options available

Department Northumbria Law School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Fee Information

Module Information

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