LAW30450 Family and Child Law

Academic Year 2023/2024

Family law is a fascinating and dynamic subject that raises important issues of social policy. Historically and constitutionally, Irish law has only recognised one form of family - the marital unit. This module focusses instead on two alternative views of the family - parent-child relationships and relationships between cohabitants (adults in an intimate relationship who are not married). An important critical focus of the module will be on how Irish law imposes and supports interdependency. The module will also examine the how the rights of children and adult partners are protected in Irish family law. While the module is delivered from a predominantly domestic law perspective, case law, policy and theoretical perspectives from other common law jurisdictions are examined where relevant.

Topics to be covered may include (subject to time constraints):

- Parenthood
- Guardianship
- Custody and Access
- Child maintenance
- International Child abduction
- Domestic Violence
- The Family Home Protection Act 1976
- Financial dependency of cohabitants

This module compliments the Autumn module LAW37690 Matrimonial Law and Reliefs which focusses on the formation and dissolution of the marital family in Irish Law. Some of the legal issues examined in the module are also relevant to married couples with children and this will be highlighted throughout.

This module will focus on private child law i.e. legal recognition of parent-child relationships, disputes between parents and children's rights within the parent-child family unit. The module is complimented by LAW37690 which looks at public law issues i.e. the circumstances in which the State can intervene into the family unit and the history of child protection law.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate detailed knowledge and understanding of the legal principles and mechanisms governing each discrete area examined on the module.
2. Apply legal rules and principles to hypothetical scenarios involving child and family law issues.
3. Evaluate the role of the law in regulating relationships between parents and children and between cohabiting partners.
4. Research a particular area of child law using paper and electronic resources and specialist legal materials.
5. Analyse past, current and future law and policy developments in terms of theoretical issues and in terms of their impact on individuals & families.
6. Work independently to gain understanding of relevant material and issues without explanatory lectures

Indicative Module Content:

The module will take a critical approach, engaging with key theoretical perspects such as children's rights and the ethic of care.

Individual topics to be covered may include (subject to time constraints):

- Parenthood
- Guardianship
- Custody and Access
- Child maintenance
- International Child abduction
- Domestic Violence
- The Family Home Protection Act 1976
- Financial dependency of cohabitants

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module will be delivered through interactive workshops. Sections of the sessions will follow a traditional lecture format but students may be expected to undertake a small amount of pre-reading before each session in order to put the legal issues in context and help them engage with underlying policy issues.

The lecture style parts of these sessions will be recorded and put on BrightSpace. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

In order to get the most out to this module, students are recommended to take LAW30400 Matrimonial Law and Reliefs. However, this is not mandatory.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Family and Child Law (LAW20120), Family Law (LAW27120)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: Take home exam. Coursework (End of Trimester) Yes Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

General feedback will be given via Brightspace after assessment is completed.

Name Role
Dr Maebh Harding Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Mon 11:00 - 12:50