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Dr Emma Hitchings

Dr Emma Hitchings

Dr Emma Hitchings
L.L.B., Ph.D.(Wales)

Reader in Family Law

Office 3.37
Wills Memorial Building,
Queens Road, Clifton BS8 1RJ
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 954 5341


Family Law


Emma Hitchings is a Reader in Family Law and the School’s Director of Undergraduate Studies. Her main research and teaching interests lie in the field of family law and family justice.

Between 2007-2017, Emma was the academic member on the Family Law Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales and between 2010-2014 she was an invited member of the Law Commission’s Advisory Board for marital property agreements. In January 2018, she was appointed as the joint editor of the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law.

 Emma has led, and been involved with, a number of research grants awarded by the Nuffield Foundation, the Law Commission, the Ministry of Justice and the Bar Council. Her funded empirical work has included projects examining pre-nuptial agreements, financial settlements on divorce and litigants in person.

 Emma is currently involved in two research projects:

i)               Fee-charging McKenzie Friends

In June 2017, Emma and Leanne Smith (Cardiff University) published a research report that explored the work of fee-charging McKenzie Friends in private family law cases. This report is available at: Since the report has been published, Emma and Leanne have been examining further aspects of the data by looking at the regulatory and gender implications of the research.

ii)             Financial settlements on divorce

Emma is currently working on stage two of this project with Joanna Miles (Cambridge University). The outcome of stage one of the Settlement Project examined the ‘how, when and why’ of settlement on divorce. Stage two of the project examines the content of settlements reached – the substantive outcomes in financial remedy cases. Findings from this stage of the study will address some important gaps in the research, examining issues such as the clean break culture, periodical payments and capital splits on divorce.


Emma teaches on the Family Law and Advanced Family Law units in the School. Emma is, and has been, an external examiner for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at other universities. She welcomes research proposals from students in the area of family law and family justice, especially financial remedies.


Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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