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LAW3421 Family Law

Semester 2, 2015 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Law and Justice

Contents on this page


Examiner: Brooke Pugh
Moderator: Katie Murray


Pre-requisite: LAW1201 or LAW1111 or LAW5501 or LAW5111

Other requisites

Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at //


Family law is a major area of legal practice which also overlaps with important social issues. The course will focus on the main areas to equip students with the ability to practice in Family Law. In relation to children's issues the course will maintain a child-centred focus to give students direction as to the requirements of the courts and the community that the best interests of the child should be taken into account. The course will also focus on the dispute resolution processes that pertain to Family disputes in a changing policy and legal environment.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. describe, interpret, explain, illustrate and assess the role and application of laws relating to marriage and de facto relationships, divorce and annulment, children and child maintenance, and property in a contemporary context
  2. describe, compare, evaluate and demonstrate knowledge of the processes of dispute resolution for family disagreements
  3. provide appropriate illustrations of the principles of law dealt with in this course and demonstrate the ability to apply those principles to factual scenarios
  4. describe and apply the rules of evidence to family law disputes
  5. demonstrate an ability to understand the focus required for drafting Court documents in Family Law
  6. demonstrate an ability to communicate with clients in dispute resolution processes in a legal context
  7. apply general policies underlying family law in Australia in order to evaluate those laws, in particular for the topics considered in this course
  8. locate and analyse primary law materials and secondary materials (as relevant) while critically reviewing an issue in law relevant to the topics considered in this course
  9. explain the legal principles relevant to the topics considered in this course
  10. demonstrate satisfactory communication skills.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to family law 10.00
2. The legal framework 10.00
3. The concept of 'family' 10.00
4. Children's matters 30.00
5. Property settlements 20.00
6. Family violence and abuse 10.00
7. Child support and spousal maintenance 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Dickey, A 2014, Family law, 6th edn, Thomson Reuters, Pyrmont, New South Wales.
  • LEGISLATION 'Family Law Act' 1975 (Cth).

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Parkinson, P 2011, Family law and the indissolubility of parenthood, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, Victoria.
  • Parkinson, P 2012, Australian family law in context: commentary and materials, 5th edn, Thomson Reuters, Pyrmont, New South Wales.
  • Young, L, Monahan, G, Sifris, A & Carroll, R 2013, Family law in Australia, 8th edn, LexisNexis Butterworths, Chatswood, New South Wales.
  • CCH IntelliConnect [electronic database]: Family Law Library, including Australian Family Law and Practice - accessible via USQ Library Database Services
  • LexisNexis AU [electronic database]: 'Australian Journal of Family Law' - accessible via USQ Library Database Services at

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 40.00
Directed Study 50.00
Private Study 75.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 30 30 20 Jul 2015 (see note 1)
ASSIGNMENT 2 30 30 20 Jul 2015
ASSIGNMENT 3 40 40 07 Nov 2015

  1. Please refer to the Assessment file on the StudyDesk for details of all assessment items for clinical legal education placement participants and non-clinical legal education participants.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    If you are an international student in Australia, you are advised to attend all classes at your campus. For all other students, there are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination for this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Not applicable.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Referencing in assignments:
    Students studying this course as part of a Bachelor of Laws or Juris Doctor must use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC) style. Students who are not enrolled in either of these programs may use either Harvard (AGPS) or the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC) in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. For AGLC style guide enquiries, consult the AGLC manual from the USQ Library's referencing guide at //, or contact the Law librarian. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide at //