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Unit information: Family Law 2: Child Law in 2021/22

Unit name Family Law 2: Child Law
Unit code LAWD30131
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Dunne
Open unit status Not open

Family Law 1: Adult Relationships


Family Law 1: Adult Relationships

School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit offers students a critical insight into the law relating to children in England and Wales. The unit will immerse students in all aspects of child law in this jurisdiction – asking what role the law can play in resolving private child-focused disputes; reflecting upon when (and how) the State should intervene to protect vulnerable young people, and placing English law in the context of established (and emerging) international laws and standards. The unit encourages students to engage in a complex and nuanced analysis of existing child law frameworks – exploring what the current rules require and questioning whether there are areas where Parliament should consider future reform. At the end of their studies, students will be able to apply accurately, and to debate critically, existing public and private law rules. Students who select this unit will study: (i) how the law defines parents and the concept of parental responsibility; (ii) children’s rights and the notion of the ‘autonomous’ child; (iii) child welfare and debates surrounding adult paternalism; (iv) child arrangements orders and decisions regarding where/with whom a child should live; (v) voluntary care proceedings; (vi) involuntary care proceedings; and (vii) the law relating to adoption. The unit will appeal to all students who have an interest in family law, and the intersections of law, childhood and society.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, a successful student will be able to:

  • Explain the legal provisions for private and public child law in England and Wales, including who is a parent, who has parental responsibility and the operation of voluntary and involuntary care proceedings.
  • Analyse whether the family justice system sufficiently acknowledges the voice and rights of the child and discuss how the ‘welfare principle’ regulates decision-making regarding children.
  • Select and employ relevant statutory provisions and case law to provide advice on legal issues and problems relating to children in England and Wales;
  • Critique the current child law rules and, through engaging with academic and policy debates, assess whether, where and how there is a need for statutory reform.

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught by a combination of 23 x 1 hour Lectures and 7 x 1 hour tutorials

1 x formative assessment (submitted for marking), plus additional informal formative feedback opportunities as indicated by the unit coordinator.

Formative assessments do not count towards the final mark and can be optional.

Assessment Information

1 x summative assessment: 1 x 2 hour exam (100%)

The assessments will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. LAWD30131).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.