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Family Law In Practice - LAW00077H

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  • Department: The York Law School
  • Module co-ordinator: Mrs. MARY-JANE or M-J Horgan
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

Please note: this module can only be taken if the student has completed the prerequisite module 'Family Law' in either the 2nd Year, or in Term 1 of the 3rd Year.

Family Law in Practice (which rolled out for the first time last year) is a practical module involved in the application of law and procedure in highly realistic family scenarios. To reflect family practice, students run ongoing client case files throughout the course, dealing with their clients’ particular legal issues. These will build, session by session, and introduce the students to the practical side of family law such as: drafting court applications and documents, client letters, financial negotiations and settlements. During this fast paced course, each week the students attend family law practice lectures, then go on to meet their clients via 'talking heads' in the workshops. Their clients are in two categories: ongoing clients who will be revisited as their case builds, and a wide range of walk-in clients, who appear each week with a one-off unusual legal problem that is linked to family law in some way.

Anonymous feedback from module evaluation:

"This class was so different than other other module I experienced at YLS, in the best way. The projects were practical, and the activities were challenging but so enjoyable."

"I really enjoyed the entirety of this module!"

"The ability to engage with 'talking head' clients added a greater depth to the problems we were facing. I believe that the PBL structure worked well to help with the understanding of complex topics - which was made even more interesting by having a actual person relay their wants rather than reading notes on paper. Additionally, being able to develop skills in handling emotional clients was touched upon and also added a much greater depth to the module as at time it made me feel like the actions and advice I was providing was going to have an impact."

"The many and various interesting clients we discussed during the workshops ... listening to their problems and discussing their cases really showed us all the corners of family law. It also made it very interesting and made the course come to life - it wasn't just dry reading."

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

Note: This module can only be taken one a student has completed the Family Law module in either Year 2, or Term 1 of Year 3.

This module seeks to provide students with a practical perspective on family law. Students will develop a deep and systematic understanding of law and procedure relevant to family law practice by drafting documents and making court applications in relation to: a number of simulated family law matters, including:

  • the dissolution of marriages and civil partnerships;
  • entitlements to property during marriages and civil partnerships and following the breakdown of such relationships;
  • children;
  • the protection of persons within families from abuse;

Practical skills to be developed include:

  • client letter drafting and writing
  • drafting court documents and applications
  • legal research for practice

Module learning outcomes

Note: This module can only be taken one a student has completed the Family Law module in either Year 2, or Term 1 of Year 3.

At the end of the module students will be able to demonstrate:

  • A deep and systematic understanding of the practical application of family law and procedure in England & Wales;
  • Systematic practical research skills;
  • The ability to draft basic legal documents to meet procedural requirements and reflect client interests;
  • Oral and written client communication skills;
  • The ability to analyse family law problems and identify relevant legal issues and stakeholder interests;
  • The ability to create solutions to client problems compliant with legal requirements and professional regulations;
  • Critical evaluation of client options, as well as contemporary issues in family law and practice.

Module content

Note: This module can only be taken once a student has completed the Family Law module in either Year 2, or Term 1 of Year 3.

This module introduces students to the professional and practical side of family law in practice. Students will build a portfolio of legal documents relating to their family law clients over the length of the course as they navigate simulated problem solving, legal advice, negotiations and court applications. At the end of the course, students will reflect on the processes their client files have taken them through, and will also select one area of family law they have studied to research and write about about.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay : Family Law in Practice
N/A 60
Reflective Analysis/Portfolio: Family Law in Practice File
N/A 40

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

The formative work is embedded through workshop activities including the creation client files/portfolios. Formative feedback will be provided through a combination of peer review and tutor feedback.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay : Family Law in Practice
N/A 60
Reflective Analysis/Portfolio: Family Law in Practice File
N/A 40

Module feedback

Students will receive individual written feedback on their assessments, plus overall generic feedback as a group. There is also opportunity for oral feedback. During the module there will be peer feedback on portfolio outputs.

Indicative reading

  • Family law : text, cases, and materials. Author: Miles, Joanna ISBN:9780191869693 (ebook) Edition: 4th edn Oxford University Press;
  • Family law and practice: Author: Duffield, Nancy, ISBN: 9781912363261 (ePub ebk.) Edition: 2020/21 edition. College of Law Publishing;

  • Hayes and Williams' family law. Author: Gilmore, Stephen ISBN: 9780198811862 (pbk.) Edition: Sixth edition Oxford University Press

  • A practical approach to family law, Author: Black, Jill M., author. ISBN: 9780198737605 Edition: Tenth edition. Oxford : Oxford University Press

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.